Tropical Leafwing (Anaea aidea)
Wing span: 2 1/4 - 3 1/16 inches (5.7 - 7.8 cm).
Identification: Underside looks like a dead leaf.
Life history: Adults are rapid, strong fliers and often perch high in trees. Males perch on branches 6-10 feet above the ground to watch for females. Eggs are laid singly on the host plant; caterpillars eat leaves. Young caterpillars use a leaf vein as a perch; older caterpillars rest in rolled-up leaves.
Flight: The dry season form flies from September-April; the wet season form from April-September.
Caterpillar hosts: Various Croton species in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae).
Adult food: Sap, dung, and decaying fruit.
Habitat: Tropical forest edges, trails, streamsides.
Range: Northwest Costa Rica north to Mexico. Wanders occasionally to California, Arizona, Kansas, and South Texas.
Conservation: Not required for 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. Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 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.