Saturday, May 10, 2008

Brush-footed Butterflies Part II

Today’s post consists of a single butterfly of the Nymphalid family

The Texan Crescent (Anthanassa texana)
Some authors place this in the genus Phyciodes.
(Click on the Photo to see the patterns better)

Adult Nymphalid butterflies have the front pair of legs reduced in size and covered with scaly hairs which probably act as chemo receptors. This family is widely diverse but do share common wing venation and antennae which are finely scaled. They also vary greatly in size and occur in a wide variety of habitats. Another thing is that they do not share any common shape. Some visit flowers, and some do not. In my experience, the butterfly presented here today is most often found on yellow flowers if available. They have been found in fossil records which would suggest ancient lineage.

The Texan crescent was first described in New Braunfels, TX in 1863(1). The outer margin of the forewing is concave, and the wings are dark brownish black with white spots. The mid hind-wing has closely spaced white spots in a distinctive pattern. Once you notice this, identification is relatively easy. We see this butterfly in the Ft. Worth Botanical Garden on a regular basis in the summertime,

It is a year-round resident in the southern US. The Texas population wanders north in the summer sometimes reaching North Dakota. However, the southeastern population seems to migrate very little.

This Texan is an inhabitant of a variety of such diverse habitats as stream beds, thorn-scrub woodlands, as well as, city parks and gardens.

I am somewhat partial to this “Texas” butterfly.


(1) Reference: John and Gloria Tveten



Doug Taron said...

I've only seen this species a very few times. All of my sightings have been in southern Arizona. It's a really cool species. This is part of a group that will make you totally cerazy in the tropics. There are large numbers of maddeningly similar species.

Anonymous said...

what a great close up. well done

Chris said...

Handsome Mr. Texas Butterfly! Thanks for's so delicate!