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Butterflies of Wisconsin -- Zerene cesonia

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Butterflies of Wisconsin

Southern Dogface (Zerene cesonia)
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Southern Dogface (Zerene cesonia [Stoll])

Wing span: 2 1/8 - 3 inches (5.4 - 7.6 cm).

Identification: Upperside forewings of both sexes have yellow "dog's head" surrounded by black. "Eye" does not touch black border. Female similar, with duller, more diffuse black areas and 2 seasonal forms: underside hindwing of wet season "summer" form is yellow; that of dry season "winter" form is mottled with black and pink.

Life history: Males patrol open areas for females. Eggs are laid on the undersides of terminal leaves of host plants. Adults overwinter in reproductive arrest.

Flight: Three flights in the southern states from May-June, July-August, and September-April. Northern colonists have one generation per year, or do not reproduce at all.

Caterpillar hosts: Small-leaved plants in the pea family (Fabaceae) including alfalfa (Medicago sativa); prairie clovers (Pentalostemon), indigo (Dalea), and clover (Trifolium) species.

Adult food: Nectar from flowers including alfalfa, coreopsis, houstonia, and verbena.

Habitat: Dry, open areas such as short-grass prairie hills, scrub oak groves, open woodland, washes, road edges.

Range: Resident in South America north to southern Texas and peninsular Florida. Stray or temporary resident from central California northeast through the Great Lakes area and all the eastern states.

Conservation: Not usually required.

Management needs: None reported.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

References:

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:

Ebner, J.A. 1970.  Butterflies of Wisconsin.  Milwaukee Public Museum Popular 
     Science Handbook No. 12.    

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.     
Southern Dogface (Zerene cesonia)
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