Northern Crescent - Phyciodes cocyta
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.5-2.0 cm. Variable. Antennae tips usually orange and black, forewing rounded. Uppersurface of males with reduced black reticulations except at borders, relatively large open orange postmedian and submarginal areas; undersurface of hindwing usually with pale tan marginal crescent standing out in a prominent chocolate-brown patch and pale orange worm-like markings. Females darker than males, very similar to Pearl Crescent (P. tharos) or Tawny Crescent (P. batesii).
One flight; mid-June to early July in the east (some areas with partial second flight), late May to mid-July in Colorado foothills, mostly June in Alberta and Saskatchewan (some areas with partial second flight), late June to early August in higher mountains and the north (Scott 1986). Mid-May to early September (Glassberg 2001); late April to late September with peaks in June-July and August in Washington and Oregon (Pyle 2002).
Probably best determined by a combination of the antennae tips usually orange and black, uppersurface of males with reduced black reticulations except at borders, relatively large open orange postmedian and submarginal areas; undersurface of hindwing usually with pale tan marginal crescent standing out in a prominent chocolate-brown patch and pale orange worm-like markings. Females similar to Pearl or Tawny Crescents, but usually lack a well-formed light bar across the undersurface of forewing cell.
From the Yukon and MacKenzie River Delta southeast across boreal Canada to Labrador and Newfoundland, south to Washington and Oregon east of the Cascades, in the Rocky Mountains to southeastern Arizona and southern New Mexico west of the Great Plains, in the Great Lakes region and Dakotas to the Black Hills, in the Appalachian Mountains to Virginia and Kentucky (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); to at least 2745 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957), to at least 1830 m elevation in Oregon (Warren 2005). In Montana, reported from most counties in the western 2/3 of the state (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993). Common to abundant (Glassberg 2001).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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Aspen groves, moist montane meadows, woodland openings, streamsides (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). In Glacier National Park, Montana, reported from montane xeric and mesic meadows (Debinski 1993).
Larval food plants include several species of Symphyotrichum, also Erigeron, Eucephalus, and Eurybia (Scott 1986; Pyle 2002; Warren 2005; James and Nunnalee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Apocynum, Arnica, Asclepias, Barbarea, Bidens, Ceanothus, Cirsium, Crepis, Erigeron, Erioganum, Erysimum, Euphorbia, Gaillardia, Grindelia, Hackelia, Helianthus, Heterotheca, Monarda, Rudbeckia, Sedum, Senecio, Solidago, Symphyotrichum, Taraxacum, Trifolium) and mud (Scott 1986, 2014; James and Nunnallee 2011).
Females lay eggs in clusters (9 to 200 eggs) on underside of host plant leaves (Scott 1986, 1992; James and Nunnallee 2011). Eggs hatch in about 7-8 days (depending on temperature), develop from L1 instar through L5 instar to pupation in about 26 days; adults eclose (emerge from pupae) after about 8-10 days. Young larvae gregarious, feed on underside of leaves, build no nest, L3-L5 instars less gregarious, rest on undersides of leaves, feed on leaf edges; L3 instar (rarely L4) overwinters (diapauses) (Scott 1986, 2006; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males patrol for females throughout the day near host plants, mostly in valley bottoms (Scott 1986; James and Nunnallee 2011).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Brown, F.M. 1957. Colorado Butterflies. Proceedings; Numbers Three through Seven. Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver, Co.
- Debinski, D. 1993. Butterflies of Glacier National Park, Montana. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History, the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. No. 159: 1-13.
- Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown (eds). 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountains. Univ. of Oklahoma Press. Norman. 442 pp.
- Glassberg, J. 2001. Butterflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Western North America. Oxford University Press.
- James, D.G. and D. Nunnallee. 2011. Life histories of Cascadia butterflies. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press. 447 p.
- Kohler, S. 1980. Checklist of Montana Butterflies (Rhopalocera). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 34(1): 1-19.
- Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Second edition. Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 540 pp.
- Pyle, R.M. 2002. The butterflies of Cascadia: a field guide to all the species of Washington, Oregon, and surrounding territories. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington. 420 pp.
- Scott, J.A. 1986. The butterflies of North America: a natural history and field guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
- Scott, J.A. 1992. Hostplant records for butterflies and skippers (mostly from Colorado) 1959-1992, with new life histories and notes on oviposition, immatures, and ecology. Papilio new series #6. 185 p.
- Scott, J.A. 2006. Butterfly hostplant records, 1992-2005, with a treatise on the evolution of Erynnis, and a note on new terminology for mate-locating behavior. Papilio new series #14. 74 p.
- Scott, J.A. 2014. Lepidoptera of North America 13. Flower visitation by Colorado butterflies (40,615 records) with a review of the literature on pollination of Colorado plants and butterfly attraction (Lepidoptera: Hersperioidea and Papilionoidea). Contributions of the C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthopod Diversity. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University. 190 p.
- Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies: including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Unpubl. Report. Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado 275 pp.
- Warren, A.D. 2005. Lepidoptera of North America 6: Butterflies of Oregon, their taxonomy, distribution, and biology. Contributions of the C. P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Colorado State University. Fort Collins, Colorado. 406 pp.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Allen, T.J., J.P. Brock, and J. Glassberg. 2005. Caterpillars in the field and garden: a field guide to the butterfly caterpillars of North America. Oxford University Press.
- Brock, J.P. and K. Kaufman. 2003. Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY 284 pp.
- Guppy, C.S. and J.H. Shepard. 2001. Butterflies of British Columbia: including western Alberta, southern Yukon, the Alaska Panhandle, Washington, northern Oregon, northern Idaho, northwestern Montana. UBC Press (Vancouver, BC) and Royal British Columbia Museum (Victoria, BC). 414 pp.
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