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Butterflies of New York -- Phyciodes tharos

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of New York

Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
JPG -- species photo

Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos [Drury])

Wing span: 1 1/4 - 1 3/4 inches (3.2 - 4.5 cm).

Identification: Quite variable. Males usually have black antennal knobs. Upperside is orange with black borders; postmedian and submarginal areas are crossed by fine black marks. Underside of hindwing has a dark marginal patch containing a light-colored crescent. Spring and fall broods (form marcia) have a gray mottled hindwing below.

Life history: Males patrol open areas for females. Eggs are laid in small batches on underside of host plant leaves. Caterpillars eat leaves and are gregarious when young. Hibernation is by third-stage caterpillars.

Flight: Several broods; from April-November in the north, throughout the year in the Deep South and Mexico.

Caterpillar hosts: Several species of smooth-leaved true asters including Aster pilosus, A. texanus, and A. laevis.

Adult food: Nectar from a great variety of flowers including dogbane, swamp milkweed, shepherd's needle, asters, and winter cress.

Habitat: Open areas such as pastures, road edges, vacant lots, fields, open pine woods.

Range: Southeastern Alberta south through Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and southeastern California to Mexico; east to southern Ontario and all the eastern United States.

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: None reported.

References:

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:

Cech, R. 1993.  A Distributional Checklist of the Butterflies and Skippers of 
     the New York City Area (50-mile Radius) and Long Island.  New York City 
     Butterfly Club Special Publication.  27 pp.

Forbes, W.T.M.  1960.  Lepidoptera of New York and Neighboring States.  Part 
     IV: Agaristidae through Nymphalidae Including Butterflies.  Cornell Univ. 
     Agricultural Experimental Station, Ithaca, N.Y.  Memoir 371.  188 pp.

Glassberg,  J.  1993.  Butterflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to 
     Butterflies in the Boston-New York-Washington Region.  Oxford Univ. Press, 
     New York, N.Y.  160 pp. 

Klass, C. and Dirig, R.  1992.  Learning about Butterflies.  Cornell Cooperative 
     Extension Publication, 4-H Member/Leader Guide 139-M-9.  Ithaca, N.Y.  
     36 pp.

Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998.  The Butterflies of 
     Canada.  University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON.  280 pp.
     
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format.
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.      

Shapiro, A.M.  1974.  Butterflies and Skippers of New York State.  Cornell Univ.
     Agricultural Experimental Station, Ithaca, N.Y.  Search 4:1-60.   
Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
distribution map
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