Eight-spotted Longtail (Polythrix octomaculata [Sepp])
Wing span: 1 3/8 - 1 13/16 inches (3.5 - 4.6 cm).
Identification: Females have long hindwing tails; males have shorter tails and no costal fold. Wings are brown; forewing with only 1 submarginal brown spot near the rear of the wing. Spot near the base of forewing underside is faint or absent; underside hindwing of female often has a smeared white patch.
Life history: Not reported. When inactive, adults perch under large leaves.
Flight: Many flights from March-November in Mexico; March and August-October in South Texas.
Caterpillar hosts: Tree and shrub legumes: Muellera, Toluifera, and Pterocarpus.
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Shady areas and streams in tropical forest or scrub.
Range: Argentina north through tropical America to Mexico and Haiti. Occasionally strays to the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas.
Conservation: Not necessary for a 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.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann