North American Butterflies and Moths List

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U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Pennsylvania

Tawny Crescent (Phyciodes batesii)
JPG -- species photo

Tawny Crescent (Phyciodes batesii [Reakirt])

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

Identification: Antennal knobs are black and white. Upperside is dark brown; forewing with pale orange postmedian band and orange submarginal band. Underside of forewing is yellow; black patch on inner margin is larger than black patch near costa. Underside of hindwing is yellow-tan with faint markings; female with black submarginal dots.

Life history: Females lay eggs in groups under host plant leaves. Caterpillars eat leaves; first- and second-stage caterpillars live together in webs on the host plant. Third-stage caterpillars hibernate.

Flight: One brood from May-July; sometimes a partial second brood in Michigan.

Caterpillar hosts: Wavy-leaved aster (Aster undulatus) and perhaps other true asters.

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Moist meadows and pastures in the northern part of its range; dry rocky ridges or hillsides in the south.

Range: Southwest Quebec west to central Alberta, south to north-central Montana, Wisconsin, Michigan, and northern Georgia. Isolated colonies in the Black Hills and Nebraska's Pine Ridge.

Conservation: For unknown reasons, this butterfly has disappeared from most of its eastern range.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G3 - Very rare or local throughout its range or found locally in a restricted range (21 to 100 occurrences). (Threatened throughout its range).

Management needs: Maintain habitat integrity, host plant colonies, and nectar sources.


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.

Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., 
     Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

State and Regional References:

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.

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. 1966.  Butterflies of the Delaware Valley.  American Entomological
     Society Special Publication.  Philadelphia, PA.  79 pp. 

Tietz, H.M.  1952.  The Lepidoptera of Pennsylvania.  The Pennsylvania State 
     College School of Agriculture Agricultural Experiment Station.  State 
     College, PA.  194 pp.

Wright, D.M.  1995,  Atlas of Pennsylvania Butterflies. Special Private 
     Publication, Lansdale, PA.  22 pp.
Tawny Crescent (Phyciodes batesii)
distribution map
map legend

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