Eight-spotted Longtail (Polythrix octomaculata [Sepp])
Wing span: 1 3/8 - 1 13/16 inches (3.5 - 4.6 cm).
Identification: Females have long hindwing tails; males have shorter tails and no costal fold. Wings are brown; forewing with only 1 submarginal brown spot near the rear of the wing. Spot near the base of forewing underside is faint or absent; underside hindwing of female often has a smeared white patch.
Life history: Not reported. When inactive, adults perch under large leaves.
Flight: Many flights from March-November in Mexico; March and August-October in South Texas.
Caterpillar hosts: Tree and shrub legumes: Muellera, Toluifera, and Pterocarpus.
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Shady areas and streams in tropical forest or scrub.
Range: Argentina north through tropical America to Mexico and Haiti. Occasionally strays to the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas.
Conservation: Not necessary for a rare stray.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: None reported.
Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo.