North American Butterflies and Moths List

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

The Registry of Nature Habitats

U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of New York

Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades)
JPG -- species photo

Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades [Geyer])

Wing span: 1 3/4 - 1 15/16 inches (4.5 - 4.9 cm).

Identification: Upperside of wings is dark brown; center of forewing with a transparent gold band. Fringes are checkered. Underside of hindwing is black-brown with a wide silvery white band along most of the outer margin.

Life history: To seek females males perch in forest openings on branches about 3-6 feet above ground. They fly out repeatedly to chase other insects but will return to the same perch. Females lay eggs singly under leaflets of host plants that are in full or partial shade. Caterpillars hibernate.

Flight: One brood from June-August in the north; 2 broods from April-September in most of its range.

Caterpillar hosts: Beggar's ticks (Desmodium); occasionally false indigo (Baptisia) and bush clover (Lespedeza); all in the pea family (Fabaceae).

Adult food: Nectar from flowers of common milkweed, dogbane, buttonbush, Japanese honeysuckle, and New Jersey tea.

Habitat: Open woodland and brushy areas, particularly oak or pine woods with sandy soil.

Range: Eastern United States from central New England south to northern Florida; west to Iowa, eastern Kansas, and central Texas. Outlying record from western Kansas.

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.


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.   
Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades)
distribution map
map legend

Return to species list
Return to Butterflies of North America main page