pearl crescent

(Phyciodes tharos)

Conservation Status
pearl crescent
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Pearl crescent is a medium sized brushfoot butterfly. It has a wingspan of 1 to 1½.

The upperside of the both wings is orange with a broad black border and a black-and-white fringe. There is a small to large patch in the basal area that is is mostly black with many fine, pale specks. The female is larger, darker, and more extensively marked than the male.

The upperside of the forewing has four irregular black patches: a subapical patch that merges with the black border; a submarginal patch near the inner margin that merges with the black border; a median patch on the leading (costal) margin; and a median patch on the inner margin. On most individuals, a black jagged line separates the median area from the postmedian area and widens into an irregular black patch near the costal margin. On the female, the median area is yellowish-orange. There are jagged lines in the discal area that form one or two outer and a row of inner orange spots with black borders.

The upperside of the hindwing has a submarginal row if pale, crescent-shaped spots within the black border. There is a jagged, uninterrupted, postmedian line and a postmedian row of small black spots. Jagged lines in the discal area create three rows of irregular orange spots with black borders.

The underside of the forewing is orange with pale orange costal and apical areas; thin, jagged, dark orange lines; and two ill-defined black patches near the costal margin.

The underside of the hindwing is pale orange with thin, jagged, dark orange lines, and an ill-defined, dark orange patch near the costal margin. There is also a dark brown patch near the trailing edge with a pearly white spot. On females, the pale areas are orangish-yellow and the lines are more highly contrasted.

The antennae are black and white striped. The antenna club is black on males, black and white striped on females. The tip of the club is orange. The legs are orangish-yellow.

The caterpillar is up to ¾ long and dark brown with numerous tiny white spots. The spots are the expanded base of the hairs (seta). On the thorax and each abdominal segment there is a short, branched spine (scolus) in the middorsal, subdorsal, supraspiracular, spiracular, and subspiracular regions. The base of the scolus is rounded, wart-like, reddish-orange, and shiny. There is a broken white line in the subdorsal and subspiracular areas that extends onto the head.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Wingspan: 1 to 1½

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Northern crescent (Phyciodes cocyta) has a larger speckled black area on the wing uppersides near the body. The hindwing postmedian line is interrupted. There is no pearly white spot in the brown patch in the underside of the hindwing. The flight season begins in June.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Meadows, prairies, fields, pastures, forest edges, streamsides, roadsides, and other open areas.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Two broods: mid-May to June, and July to early September

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Young caterpillars feed in groups but do not create nests.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

The male patrols near host plants in search of a receptive female. After mating, the female lays green eggs on the underside of aster leaves in a raft of usually about 36 but as few as 20 to as many as 200. The second brood overwinters as a third-stage caterpillar.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

White panicle aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum), smooth blue aster (Symphyotrichum laeve), and other asters (Symphyotrichum spp.).

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Flower nectar of spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium), white clover (Trifolium repens), fleabane (Erigeron spp.), thistle (Cirsium spp.), and aster (Symphyotrichum spp.).

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 20, 21, 24, 29, 71.

 
  12/14/2019      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Uncommon

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Papilionoidea (butterflies [excluding skippers])  
 

Family

Nymphalidae (brush-footed butterflies)  
 

Subfamily

Nymphalinae (true brushfoots)  
 

Tribe

Melitaeini (checkerspots)  
  Subtribe Phyciodina  
 

Genus

Phyciodes  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Phyciodes selenis

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

pearl crescent

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Costal margin

The leading edge of the forewing of insects.

 

Pupa

The life stage of some insects undergoing transformation. In caterpillars, the chrysalis.

 

Scolus

A spiny, branched projection from a larval body wall, the branches terminating with a single stiff, hair-like or bristle-like tip.

 

Seta

A usually rigid bristle- or hair-like structure on butterflies and moths used to sense touch. Plural: setae.

 

Spiracle

A small opening on the surface of an insect through which the insect breathes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Alfredo Colon

 
    pearl crescent   pearl crescent  
 

Tom Baker

 
    pearl crescent      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    pearl crescent   pearl crescent  
           
    pearl crescent   pearl crescent  
           
    pearl crescent      
           
 

Phyciodes not quite Northern or Pearl

This one looks like a pearl crescent above and a northern crescent below.

  pearl crescent  
           
        pearl crescent  
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Pearl Crescent Butterfly
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Pearl Crescent Butterfly  
 
About

Phyciodes tharos

 
Phyciodes tharos (Pearl Crescent)
Allen Chartier
  Phyciodes tharos (Pearl Crescent)  
Pearl Crescent butterfly (Phyciodes tharos)
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
  Pearl Crescent butterfly (Phyciodes tharos)  
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Other Videos
 
  Pearl Crescent (Nymphalidae: Phyciodes tharos) Resting
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 11, 2009

Photographed at the Rydell NWR, Minnesota (11 July 2009). "He puts Himself--like Leaves-- / And then--He closes up-- / Then stands upon the Bonnet / Of Any Buttercup." --Emily Dickinson

 
  Phyciodes tharos - Pearl Crescent Butterfly Resting in a Tree
Wise Snake
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 9, 2013

Butterfly behaviour video: Ever wonder where many a butterfly go during the night?

FACTS:
Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Nymphalinae

Identification: Quite variable. Males usually have black antennal knobs. Upperside is orange with black borders; postmedian and submarginal areas are crossed by fine black marks. Underside of hindwing has a dark marginal patch containing a light-colored crescent. Spring and fall broods (form marcia) have a gray mottled hindwing below.

Wing Span: 1 1/4 - 1 3/4 inches (3.2 - 4.5 cm).

Life History: Males patrol open areas for females. Eggs are laid in small batches on underside of host plant leaves. Caterpillars eat leaves and are gregarious when young. Hibernation is by third-stage caterpillars.

Flight: Several broods; from April-November in the north, throughout the year in the Deep South and Mexico.

Caterpillar Hosts: Several species of smooth-leaved true asters including Aster pilosus, A. texanus, and A. laevis.

Adult Food: Nectar from a great variety of flowers including dogbane, swamp milkweed, shepherd's needle, asters, and winter cress.

Habitat: Open areas such as pastures, road edges, vacant lots, fields, open pine woods.

Range: Southeastern Alberta south through Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and southeastern California to Mexico; east to southern Ontario and all the eastern United States.

Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.

 
  Pearl crescent butterly (Phyciodes tharos) foraging on mist flower, 7/24/12, Maryland
metapathogen
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 25, 2012

Pearl crescent butterly (Phyciodes tharos) foraging on mist flower (Conoclinium coelestinum), 7/24/12, Maryland
DSCN2446.MOV

 
  Pearl Crescent - August 31, 2013
Don Gagnon
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 2, 2013

Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos), Sherborn Power Line, near Fessenden Field, Western Avenue, Sherborn, Massachusetts, Saturday afternoon, August 31, 2013, 12:22 PM / 12:23 PM - Canon EOS REBEL T2i MVI_44416 / MVI_44418; 1:27 min.

 
  Pearl Crescent Butterflies mating
Pearl Crescent Butterflies mating
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 28, 2012

No description available.

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
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  Alfredo Colon
9/29/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

pearl crescent  
           
 
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