are relatively large butterflies, with a wingspan ranging from 30mm to 50mm. The upper side of their wings is black with brilliant iridescent blue. Below, the wings are a purplish black color with gold iridescent markings near the tails. have two tails attached to each hind wing, one shorter than the other. The underside also has red spots near the attachment to the abdomen. The abdomen is blue on top and red-orange underneath. Females are slightly larger and duller than males.
larvae are green with dark green bands, yellow stripes, and a narrow green mid-dorsal line. They are also covered in short orange and green hairs.
Female Phoradendron spp. The larvae hatch and eat the mistletoe until they are fully grown. Then they journey to crevices under the bark or at the base of the host tree where they can safely pupate throughout the winter; in the spring, butterflies emerge. (Hall and Butler, 1999; Tveten and Tveten, 1996)scatter their eggs over mistletoe,
Male Phoradendron spp., so that the larvae will be able to eat. They breed from March through November, each female laying several broods each. (Preston-Mafham and Preston-Mafham, 1993; Scott, 1986; Tveten and Tveten, 1996)will wait on treetops or hilltops from noon to untill sundown (earlier on colder days) for a female to fly by. This mating system is called landmark based. Males will move their wings up and down to attract females. After mating, females will scatter their eggs over mistletoe,
Male (Scott, 1986)often return to the same treetop or hilltop for days at a time to await new mates.
After female (Tveten and Tveten, 1996)lay their eggs it is up to the larvae to feed and protect themselves.
After emerging from the pupae, (Scott, 1986)live for about 24 days.
Adultprotect themselves from predators by moving their wings up and down to draw attention to their false heads made by the tails and spots on the hind wings. Thus, if a predator attacks a butterfly by grabbing its tail, the tail will break off and the butterfly can escape.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank gives (Struttman, 2001)a ranking of G5, which means that the species is secure globally, although it may be rare in the periphery of its habitat range.
Sara Diamond (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Camilia VanCamp (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 the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
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.
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.
the state that some animals enter during winter in which normal physiological processes are significantly reduced, thus lowering the animal's energy requirements. The act or condition of passing winter in a torpid or resting state, typically involving the abandonment of homoiothermy in mammals.
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.
makes seasonal movements between breeding and wintering grounds
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
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.
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
associates with others of its species; forms social groups.
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).
uses sight to communicate
Arnett, R. 1985. American Insects. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.
Hall, D., J. Butler. 1999. "University of Florida Department of Entomology and Nematology" (On-line). Accessed November 28, 2001 at http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/bfly/purple_hairstreak.htm.
Holland, W. 1910. The Butterfly Book. Golden City, New York: Doubleday, Page, & Company.
Milne, L., M. Milne. 1992. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc..
Preston-Mafham, R., K. Preston-Mafham. 1993. The Encyclopedia of Land Invertebrate Behavior. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
Scott, J. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.
Struttman, J. 2001. "National Prairie Wildlife Research Center" (On-line). Accessed November 28, 2001 at http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/bflyusa/nj/282.htm.
Tveten, J., G. Tveten. 1996. Butterflies of Houston & Southeast Texas. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press.