Mitchell's Satyr (Neonympha mitchellii French)
Wing span: 1 3/8 - 1 3/4 inches (3.5 - 4.5 cm).
Identification: Small and fragile with translucent wings. Underside of both wings with yellow-rimmed black submarginal eyespots.
Life history: Adults fly in sunlight with a slow, bobbing flight about a foot above the grasses. Males patrol for females, who lay eggs singly on host plants. Caterpillars eat leaves and the fourth stage hibernates.
Flight: Flight lasts only about 10 days in late June to early July.
Caterpillar hosts: Sedges and bulrush.
Adult food: Not reported.
Habitat: Sedge swamps, marshes.
Range: Isolated populations in southern Michigan, northern Indiana, northern New Jersey, and south-central North Carolina.
Conservation: Endangered species. This sensitive butterfly is declining in most of its range, and has already disappeared from former habitat in northeastern Ohio and Maryland. Collecting may eradicate its small colonies.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G2 - Imperiled globally because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences), or because of other factors demonstrably making it very vulnerable to extinction throughout its range. (Endangered throughout its range).
Management needs: Prevent trampling of habitat. Prevent drainage or conversion of its wetland habitat.
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
State and Regional References:
Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON. 280 pp. Nielsen, Mogens C., 1999. Michigan Butterflies and Skippers: A Field Guide and Reference. Michigan State University Extension, East Lansing, MI. 248 pp. Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.