The pearl crescent butterfly ranges from Alberta, Canada down south along the east coast of the United States into Mexico. It has also been seen in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, southeastern California, and Mexico. This species is not found in the Pacific Northwest. (Klots, 1951; Scott, 1986)
- Habitat Regions
- Other Habitat Features
- Sexual Dimorphism
- sexes colored or patterned differently
- sexes shaped differently
- Range length
- 16 to 18 mm
- 0.63 to 0.71 in
- Range wingspan
- 3 to 4 cm
- 1.18 to 1.57 in
- Development - Life Cycle
During courtship, the male pursues the female butterfly while he is patroling the host plant. If the female is flying, she lands, keeping her wings spread. Next, the male lands behind her, possibly displaying his wings and on occasion fluttering them. With his wings partially opened he crawls under her hindwings to mate. For highly receptive females, which are usually motionless, the male rarely displays or flutters before mating. On the other hand, an unreceptive female will close her wings, possibly causing the male to leave. If the male doesn't fly away, the female may raise her abdomen (so he cannot join), turn and crawl away, drop down into vegetation, or fly away to escape. (Carter, 1992; Klots, 1951; Scott, 1986)
Females lay eggs in masses of 20-200 (average 36), sometimes two or three layers deep on the underside leaves of a host plant (usually aster leaves).
- Range eggs per season
- 20 to 200
- Average eggs per season
After oviposition, there is no further parental involvement.
- Parental Investment
The adult uses a siphoning technique to feed on nectar from an array of flowers including dogbane, swamp milkweed, shepherd's needle, asters, black-eyed susans, thistle, gloriosa daisies, white clover, and winter cress. The butterfly siphons nectar out of the flower by using its coiled tongue (proboscis). Caterpillars have chewing mouthparts used to eat leaves and other materials off of plants. (Klots, 1951; Pyle, 1984)
- Plant Foods
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
This species of butterfly has no known economic importance. (Pyle, 1984)
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
The pearl crescent butterfly is in no danger of extinction, although it may be rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
The pearl crescent is one the most common of 700 species of butterflies in the United States and Canada. Many subspecies of Phyciodes tharos arctica, found in Newfoundland, has a deeper more orange and yellow underside. Phyciodes tharos tharos, a subspecies found in New York, is lighter than the subspecies found in Newfoundland. Other subspecies found in Colorado and Washington are Phyciodes tharos morpheus and << Phyciodes campestris>>. Similar species to are the Silvery Checkerspot and Phaon Crescent. (Klots, 1951; Scott, 1986; Taylor, 1994)have been identified.
Sara Diamond (author), Animal Diversity Web.
Jamie King (author), Southwestern University, Stephanie Fabritius (editor), Southwestern University.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
- active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
union of egg and spermatozoan
an animal that mainly eats leaves.
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
- internal fertilization
fertilization takes place within the female's body
A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
an animal that mainly eats nectar from flowers
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
offspring are all produced in a single group (litter, clutch, etc.), after which the parent usually dies. Semelparous organisms often only live through a single season/year (or other periodic change in conditions) but may live for many seasons. In both cases reproduction occurs as a single investment of energy in offspring, with no future chance for investment in reproduction.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
- tropical savanna and grassland
A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.
A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.
- temperate grassland
A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.
Carter, D. 1992. Eyewitness Handbook of Butterflies and Moths. New York: Dorling Kindersley, Inc.
Klots, A. 1951. Field Guide to Butterflies of North America, East of the Great Plains. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co..
Pyle, R. 1984. Audubon Society for Butterfly Watchers. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
Schneck, M. 1990. Butterflies. Pennsylvania: Rodale Press.
Scott, J. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Standford, California: Stanford University Press.
Taylor, J. 1994. Some Common Butterflies. Conservationist, March-June, 1994: 48, 5-6, 10-13.