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Common Wood-Nymph

Cercyonis pegala


Identification: Geographically variable. Wings are brown. Upperside of forewing has 2 large yellow-ringed eyespots. Lowerside of hindwing has a variable number of small eyespots. Southern and coastal butterflies are larger and have a yellow or yellow-orange patch on the outer part of the forewing. Inland butterflies are smaller and have the yellow forewing patch reduced or absent. Wing Span: 1 3/4 - 3 inches (4.5 - 7.6 cm). Life History: Males patrol for females with a dipping flight through the vegetation. In late summer, females lay eggs singly on host plant leaves. Caterpillars hatch but do not feed, instead hibernating until spring. Flight: One brood from late May-October. Females emerge later than males. Caterpillar Hosts: Purpletop (Tridens flavus) and other grasses. Adult Food: Rotting fruit, flower nectar. Habitat: Large, sunny, grassy areas including prairies, open meadows, bogs, and old fields. Range: Southern Canada and the continental United States except for most of the Southwest and Texas, southern peninsular Florida, and northern Maine. Conservation: Isolated populations in Great Basin wetlands may be of concern. NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.


TracyL 8 years ago

Thank you J I totally knew that too, i fee like such an idiot lol :)

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 8 years ago

Hello, could you remove this butterfly from the mission "Moths of the World?" A good way to tell a moth from a butterfly is by the antennae, which are like rounded clubs on the ends for butterflies, and thin or often feathery antennae for moths. Of course, there are occasional exceptions.

Spotted by

Vermont, USA

Spotted on Sep 2, 2012
Submitted on Sep 2, 2012

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