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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Mead's Wood Nymph - Cercyonis meadii

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status

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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001] Forewing 2.2-2.4 cm. Uppersurface of forewing with red-orange flush surrounding eyespots, upper submarginal eyespot usually larger than lower; undersurface more extensive red-orange flush on forewing encompassing two prominent eyespots, postmedian eyespots not extensively developed.

One flight; late July to early September, rarely October (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999). July to September in the south, late July to August in the north (Glassberg 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by the extensive red-orange flush on forewing, encompassing two prominent eyespots.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Discontinuous. Central Montana and eastern Wyoming to western North and South Dakota where it is considered a Pleistocene relic of a more-continuous coniferous area (Johnson 1975); central Colorado; southwestern Colorado and southern Utah to northern Mexico and western Texas (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); usually below 3050 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957; Emmel 1969). Reported in Montana from most counties in the southeastern quarter of the state (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993). Uncommon to locally common in the south, rare in the north (Glassberg 2001).


Canyons, open pine woodlands, forest margins, dry meadows, sagebrush-steppe (Brown 1957; Emmel 1964; Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001). Not described for Montana, but likely in open ponderosa pine woodland and open woodland margins.

Food Habits
Larval food plants include Bouteloua, Carex, and possibly others (Scott 1992, 2006). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Achillea, Aster, Chrysothamnus, Cirsium, Geranium, Grindelia, Heterotheca, Senecio, Solidago) and mud (Scott 1986, 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs singly in dead plant litter (Pinus needles, dried Quercus leaves, dead Carex leaves) near larval host plants, usually a shaded location under tree/shrub canopy. L1 instar overwinters, then resumes growth through L5 instar the following spring and pupates; pupae suspended from host plant (Brown 1957; Emmel 1969; Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986, 2006). Males patrol throughout the day in woods and valley bottoms in search of females (Scott 1975b, 1986).

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Citation for data on this website:
Mead's Wood Nymph — Cercyonis meadii.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from