Mylitta Crescent - Phyciodes mylitta
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.5-2.1 cm. Forewing outer margin angled, antennae knobs orange. Uppersurface orange with black lines and spots, females with yellow-orange median band and more strongly banded with black network; undersurface forewing dull orange, sometimes with black submarginal streak, hindwing orange-brown sometimes with whitish median band and whitish submarginal crescent heavily haloed with brown.
Multiple flights; February to November in the south, April to September in the north (Scott 1986). March to October at lower elevations, April to September at higher elevations (Glassberg 2001); mid-March to mid-October with peaks in mid-May and July-August in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002); late April to August in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001).
Best determined by a combination of uppersurface extensively orange relative to most other cresents, undersurface forewing dull orange, sometimes with black submarginal streak, hindwing orange-brown sometimes with whitish median band and whitish submarginal crescent heavily haloed with brown.
Southern British Columbia and central Montana south mainly west of the continental divide to northern Baja and southern Mexico, east of divide in extreme southern Colorado and New Mexico to extreme southwestern Kansas (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); typically 1830-2745 m elevation in the Rocky Mountains (Ferris and Brown 1981). In Montana, reported from all counties west of the continental divide and a few east of the divide with montane topography (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993). Uncommon to common (Glassberg 2001).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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Agricultural fields, open meadows, prairie, dry roadsides near clearings, marshes, streamcourses in foothills and mountains, forest edges, towns (Scott 1986; Threatful 1988; Opler and Wright 1999; Pyle 2002). Habitat apparently not described for Montana.
Larval food plants include primarily Cirsium (several species) but sometimes Carduus, Centaurea, Mimulus, and Silybum (Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Anaphalis, Aster, Chrysothamnus, Cirsium, Leontodon, Leucanthemum, Ranunculus, Rubus, Rudbeckia, Senecio, Solidago, Trifolium), scat, and mud (Scott 1986; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011).
Females lay eggs in large clusters (40 to 270 eggs) on underside of host plant leaves (Scott 1986, 1992; James and Nunnallee 2011). Eggs hatch in 8-11 days, develop from L1 instar to L5 instar and pupation in about 25 days (depending on temperature); adults eclose (emerge from pupae) in about another 8-12 days. L1-L3 instars gregarious, sometimes live in silk nest, L4-L5 more solitary, all instars feed openly; L3 or L4 instar overwinters (Guppy and Shepard 2001; James and Nunallee 2011). Males perch throughout the day between shrubs but also patrol territories along roads, trails, watercourses in search of females (Scott 1975b, 1986; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. 1975b. Mate-locating behavior of western North American butterflies. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 14:1-40.
- 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.
- 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.
- Threatful, D.L. 1988. A list of the butterflies and skippers of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks, British Columbia, Canada (Lepidoptera). Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 27(3-4): 213-221.
- 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.
- Caruthers, J.C., and D. Debinski. 2006. Montane meadow butterfly species distributions in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. University of Wyoming National Park Service Research Center Annual Report, 2006. Vol. 30, Art. 14. 85-96.
- Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. LaFontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press. 280 pp. + color plates.
- 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.
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