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 Texas

Variable Cracker (Hamadryas feronia)

Variable Cracker (Hamadryas feronia [Linnaeus])

Wing span: 2 7/8 - 3 1/4 inches (7.3 - 8.3 cm).

Identification: Upperside of forewing is brown and white, sometimes bluish, with a red bar in the cell; hindwing eyespots are each black with a white center, surrounded by a blue ring. Underside of hindwing is white or tan-white with submarginal black rings.

Life history: Adults perch on tree trunks head downward with their wings spread open, and males make a cracking noise when they fly. Before dark, adults gather on a single tree, then disperse to roost in nearby trees or shrubs.

Flight: Throughout the year in the tropics, July-December in South Texas.

Caterpillar hosts: Vine Dalechampia in the family Euphorbiaceae.

Adult food: Rotting fruit and other non-floral resources.

Habitat: Tropical forest edges, cutover second growth.

Range: Argentina and Brazil north through tropical America to Mexico. Strays 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.


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:

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.
Variable Cracker (Hamadryas feronia)
distribution map
map legend

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