North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Texas

Mexican Bluewing (Myscelia ethusa)
JPG -- species photo

Mexican Bluewing (Myscelia ethusa [Boisduval])

Wing span: 2 1/2 - 3 inches (6.4 - 7.6 cm).

Identification: Forewing apex is truncated. Upperside is black with iridescent blue bands; outer half of forewing has white spots.

Life history: Young caterpillars make a resting perch by attaching dung pellets and silk to a leaf vein. The adults rest on tree trunks with wings closed, exposing their undersides which look like bark.

Flight: Many flights throughout the year in South Texas.

Caterpillar hosts: In the tropics, Dalechampia in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae).

Adult food: Rotting fruit.

Habitat: Stream valleys with dry scrub or scattered tropical forest.

Range: Colombia north through Central America to Mexico. Periodically strays and lives in the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas.

Conservation: Conserve remaining Tamaulipan brushland habitats in the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Management needs: Expand the lower Rio Grande Valley refuge complex. Protect existing habitats on refuges.


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.
Mexican Bluewing (Myscelia ethusa)
distribution map
map legend

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