Soldier (Danaus eresimus [Cramer])
Wing span: 2 3/4 - 3 3/4 inches (7 - 9.5 cm).
Identification: Upperside is brownish orange, darker at the wing bases; both wings with thin black veins. Forewing has fewer white spots than the Queen. Underside of hindwing has a pale band of blotchy pale spots.
Life history: Not reported.
Flight: From August-December in South Texas; all year in southern Florida, most common from October-December.
Caterpillar hosts: Milkweeds and milkweed vines.
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Open pastures and fields, edges of seasonally dry tropical forests.
Range: Southern Florida and South Texas south through the West Indies and Central America to Brazil. A rare stray to southern Arizona and southern New Mexico.
Conservation: Not usually required.
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: Conserve breeding areas in refuges along the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas.
Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates. 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.