Tailed Orange (Eurema proterpia Fabricius)
Wing span: 1 3/4 - 2 1/4 inches (4.5 - 5.7 cm).
Identification: Two sexual and two seasonal forms. Upperside orange; tip of forewing squared off. Male with black forewing costa; females with black forewing costa, apex, and outer margin. Winter (dry-season) form with tail-like projections on hindwing; summer (wet-season) form without tails.
Life history: Males patrol for females on flats and in gullies. The dry-season form is non-reproductive until the onset of the rainy season.
Flight: August-November in Texas; throughout the year in the tropics.
Caterpillar hosts: In Texas, mesquite (Prosopis) and senna (Cassia) species; Desmodium in the tropics (all in the pea family [Fabaceae]).
Adult food: Nectar from many species of flowers.
Habitat: Desert and subtropical open and disturbed areas including scrub, pastures, forest edges.
Range: Peru north to Mexico; Greater Antilles; strays to southern Texas, southwest New Mexico, and southeast Arizona; rarely to Nebraska and Kansas.
Conservation: Not usually required.
Management needs: None reported.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
DeVries, P. J. 1987. The butterflies of Costa Rica and their natural history. 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.
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.