Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pearl Crescent Butterfly

This image of a Pearl Crescent Butterfly was taken in Brooklyn, CT last June. We don't see these butterflies here in Florida so normally I wouldn't post a shot of one so tattered, but this one is for my friends here in Florida.

The Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos), is a small wonder that is simply astounding. It is one of the more common butterflies visiting open, sunny areas in North America. It gets its name from a pearl colored crescent shape on the underside of its hind wing, outlined in black. This butterfly can be hard to identify because it resembles several other butterflies and because the overall pattern on its wings can differ geographically and can change depending on the seasons. The cooler season of this butterfly usually has more markings and is a darker orange.

The Pearl Crescent is also amazing because in some regions of Northern America it flies year round and in other regions it overwinters as a caterpillar. The caterpillar will stop eating and enter diapause, a pause in the growth and development until the weather is more favorable. When the weather warms again, it will continue to eat and grow.

The female can be identified by its pointed abdomen, while the males have a blunt shaped abdomen. The male’s antennae are also orange on the upper side with black on the underside.

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