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Butterflies of Virginia -- Marpesia petreus

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Virginia

Ruddy Daggerwing (Marpesia petreus)
JPG -- species photo

Ruddy Daggerwing (Marpesia petreus [Cramer])

Wing span: 2 3/4 - 3 3/4 inches (7 - 9.5 cm).

Identification: Tip of forewing is elongated. Hindwing has long dagger-like tails. Upperside is orange with 3 thin black lines. Underside is mottled brown and black, resembling a dead leaf.

Life history: To watch for females, males perch 15-30 feet above ground on sunlit trees.

Flight: Most of the year in Florida, but are most common from May-July.

Caterpillar hosts: Common fig (Ficus carica) and wild banyan tree (F. citrifolia) in the fig family (Moraceae).

Adult food: Nectar from giant milkweed in Florida; Cordia, Casearia, Lantana, and Mikania in the tropics.

Habitat: Tropical lowland forests and edges; hardwood hammocks.

Range: Brazil north through Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies to southern Florida. Strays north to Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, and South Texas.

Conservation: Not of conservation concern in Florida.

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.

References:

DeVries, P. J. 1987. The butterflies of Costa Rica and their natural history. 
     Papilionidae, Pieridae, Nymphalidae. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 
     New Jersey. 327 pages, 50 color plates.

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.

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:

Glassberg,  J.  1993.  Butterflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to 
     Butterflies in the Boston-New York-Washington Region.  Oxford Univ. Press, 
     New York, N.Y.  160 pp.    

Clark, A.H. and Clark, L.F. 1951.  The Butterflies of Virginia.  Smithsonian
     Miscellaneous collection No. 116:1-239.

Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998.  The Butterflies of 
     Canada.  University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON.  280 pp. 
     
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format.
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.     

Woodbury, E.N.  1994.  Butterflies of Delmarva.  Delaware Nature Society, Inc., 
     Tidewater Publishers, Centreville, MD.  138 pp.  [NOTE: this book only 
     treats True Butterflies (Papilionoidea).  It does not treat Skippers 
     (Hesperioidea).]
Ruddy Daggerwing (Marpesia petreus)
distribution map
map legend

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