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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Little Wood Satyr - Megisto cymela

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Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status

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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001] Forewing 1.7-2.3 cm. Forewing brown with two prominent yellow-rimmed eyespots above and below; hindwing brown with two prominent yellow-rimmed eyespots above and below.

One flight; June to early July in the north, late March to May in the south (Scott 1986). May to August (Glassberg 2001)

Diagnostic Characteristics
Determined by the two large yellow-rimmed eyespots on each wing.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Southeastern Saskatchewan south through the Dakotas, Nebraska, southeastern Wyoming, northeastern Colorado and central Texas, east across southern Canada and most of eastern US to Atlantic Coast (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001). Not reported in Montana prior to 2000 (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993), but recorded since then from Carbon, Carter, and Fallon counties (FLMN Lepidopterists' Society database). Rare to uncommon at the western edge of range north of Oklahoma (Glassberg 2001).


Grassy areas, grazed prairie, shrubby fields, grassland-woodland ecotones, riparian woodlands (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Debinski and Babbit 1997; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001).

Food Habits
Limited information. Larval food plants include the grasses Dactylis, Eremochloa, and Xyris; many others eaten by captive larvae (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986). Adults infrequently sip flower nectar (including Ptelea, Pycnanthemum, Rhus, and Smilax), and feed on sap and aphid honeydew (Williams 1983; Scott 1986; Tooker et al. 2002).

Reproductive Characteristics
Limited information. Females lay eggs singly on dead or live grass, the bases of tree trunks, and soil. Larvae feed at night, build no nests; L3-L4 instars hibernate (overwinter). Pupae suspended from grass stems or in litter (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986). Males patrol throughout the day mostly in shaded areas in search of females (Scott 1986).

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Citation for data on this website:
Little Wood Satyr — Megisto cymela.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from