Brownish Cracker (Hamadryas iphthime
Wing span: 2 3/4 - 3 1/8 inches (7 - 8 cm).
Identification: Upperside is mottled gray, brown, and white; forewing without a red bar in cell; hindwing submarginal spots with a black center containing a white crescent, then a light blue ring, a narrow brown ring, and finally an outer blue ring.
Life history: Eggs are laid singly under leaves of host plant; caterpillars eat leaves and are solitary. Adults perch on tree trunks head downward with their wings spread open; males await females and make a cracking noise when they dart out at other insects. Before dark, adults perch on a single tree, then disperse to roost in nearby trees or shrubs.
Flight: Throughout the year in the tropics; strayed to Texas in August.
Caterpillar hosts: Vine Dalechampia in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae).
Adult food: Rotting fruit and other non-floral resources.
Habitat: Openings and trails in wet tropical forest.
Range: Brazil north through tropical America to central Mexico. One stray reported in central 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.