Southern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia otho [J. E. Smith])
Wing span: 1 - 1 3/8 inches (2.4 - 3.5 cm).
Identification: Upperside of male is brown with a few orange or red-oranges patches and a two-part black stigma (the "broken dash"). Female upperside is dark brown with pale orange spots. Underside of hindwing in both sexes is orange or red-orange and has a band of pale spots.
Life history: Males perch on vegetation within 2 feet of the ground to watch for females, usually in the early morning. Females lay eggs singly on or near the host plants. Caterpillars live in nests of silk-tied leaves; when they come out to eat they carry a piece of leaf over themselves for protection.
Flight: Two broods (sometimes a partial third) from April-October; all year in peninsular Florida and South Texas.
Caterpillar hosts: Paspalum and St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers including pickerelweed, selfheal, and sweet pepperbush.
Habitat: Openings near wooded rivers or swamps.
Range: Eastern Texas and the southeastern United States south through the West Indies and Central America to Argentina. Strays north to central Missouri, northern Kentucky, and Delaware.
Conservation: Not usually required.
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: None reported.
Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 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. Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Denver and Fort Collins, CO. Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann