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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Tawny Crescent - Phyciodes batesii

Potential Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S2S3

Agency Status

External Links

General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001] Forewing 1.5-1.8 cm. Antennae knobs black. Uppersurface of males dark with postmedian band pale-orange, submarginal band orange; female variable. Undersurface of forewing with black patch on inner margin larger (wider) than subapical patch on costa; hindwing overall pale yellow.

One flight; mid-May to June in the south and Ottawa, mid-June to July in the north (Scott 1986). June to early August (Glassberg 2001). Late May to mid-August in Manitoba, mid June to July in Alberta and Saskatchewan (Scott 1994), late June to late July in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Variable. Best determined by combination of antennae knobs black, uppersurface of forewing with median band paler orange than postmedian band, undersurface of forewing with black patch on inner margin larger (wider) than subapical patch on costa.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Northeastern British Columbia and central Alberta east to central Ontario and southwestern Quebec, south in Appalachians to northern Georgia, south in the west to northern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico; isolated population in Black Hills region of South Dakota and northwestern Nebraska, and Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming (Scott 1994; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001), populations in Black Hills and Pine Ridge region of Nebraska are postglacial relics of former eastern deciduous forest (Johnson 1975; Kaul et al. 1988); to 2454 m elevation in Colorado (Scott 2006). In Montana, reported since 1980 from at least seven counties east of the Rocky Mountains, mainly in the north and east (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database). Locally rare to uncommon (Glassberg 2001).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 10

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)


Moist slopes, ravines, pastures, dry rocky ridges, deciduous woodland openings, mesic meadows, aspen stands, riparian corridors (Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Guppy and Shepard 2001). Habitat in Montana not described but probably similar.

Food Habits
Larval food plants include Eurybia and at least three species of Symphyotrichum (Scott 1986, 1994, 2006). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Achillea, Cirsium, Erigeron, Eriogonum, Eurybia, Grindelia, Machaeranthera, Medicago, Rudbeckia, Viguiera), carrion, and mud (Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs in clusters (up to 128 eggs per cluster) on the underside of host plant leaves. L1-L2 instars live on thin silk nest on underside of leaves, overwinter (hibernate) as L4 (also L3?) instar. Development from oviposition to eclosion (adult emergence from pupae) 51 days in captivity (depending on temperature), L1 instar to pupae in 55-57 days. Adult eclosion in 8-13 days after pupation (Scott 1979, 1986, 1994, 2006). Males patrol throughout the day in canyon bottoms in search of females (Scott 1994).

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Citation for data on this website:
Tawny Crescent — Phyciodes batesii.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from