Mangrove (Phocides pigmalion [Cramer])
Wing span: 1 7/8 - 2 3/4 inches (4.8 - 7 cm).
Identification: Wings are brown-black; hindwing has iridescent blue streaks both above and below.
Life history: Flight is fast and powerful. Males perch to seek females, who deposit eggs singly on the host plant. Caterpillars eat leaves and live in shelters of silked-together leaves.
Flight: November-August in southern Florida.
Caterpillar hosts: American mangrove (Rhizophora mangle).
Adult food: Nectar including that of mangrove, shepherd's needle, citrus, and bougainvillaea flowers.
Habitat: Coastal mangrove thickets and openings.
Range: Both coasts of peninsular Florida and the Keys south through the West Indies and Mexico to Argentina. Strayed to coastal South Carolina.
Conservation: Not usually required.
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 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.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann