Red Cracker (Hamadryas amphinome [Linnaeus])
Wing span: 3 1/16 - 3 3/8 inches (7.8 - 8.6 cm).
Identification: Upperside is black marbled with blue; forewing has a wide white band. Underside of hindwing is brick red; submarginal eyespots are mostly concealed.
Life history: Eggs are laid in chains of 5-10 on underside of host plant leaves. Caterpillars eat leaves and live communally. Adults perch on tree trunks head downward with their wings spread open. Before dark, adults gather on a single tree, then disperse to roost in nearby trees or shrubs. Males make a crackling noise as they fly to interact with other insects.
Flight: Many flights throughout the year in Mexico and the tropics. Strayed to Texas in September.
Caterpillar hosts: Vine Dalechampia in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae).
Adult food: Rotting fruit and other non-floral resources.
Habitat: Tropical forest edges and clearings, second-growth scrub.
Range: Argentina north through tropical America to central Mexico and Cuba. A rare stray (once) to the lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas.
Conservation: Not required 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.
DeVries, P. J. 1987. The butterflies of Costa Rica and their natural history. Papilionidae, Pieridae, Nymphalidae. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. 327 pages, 50 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. Smith, D. S., L. D. Miller, and J. Y. Miller. 1994. The butterflies of the West Indies and South Florida. Oxford University Press, Oxford. 264 pages, 32 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Neck, R.W. 1996. A Field Guide to Butterflies of Texas. Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, Texas. 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. Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Tveten, J. and Tveten, G. 1996. Butterflies of Houston & Southeast Texas. Univ. of Texas Press, Austin, TX. 292 pp.