Wood Nymph

SNOUT BUTTERFLIES Family Libytheidae Not illus.

Identification: Similar to Nymphalidae (p. 226), but labial palps longer than thorax, thickly hairy, and projecting forward.

Our only species in this group has distinctively shaped front wings and a wingspread of about IK in. It occurs throughout the East and Southwest, but is uncommon in the Northeast. Larva feeds on hackberry.

HELICONIANS Family Heliconiidae

Identification: Similar to Nymphalidae (p. 226), but FW narrow, elongate, and HW humeral vein bent toward base of wing.

Our few species of heliconians occur in the South. One of the most strikingly colored is the Zebra Butterfly, Heliconius charitonius (Linn.), which is black with yellow stripes. Its larva feeds on passion flowers.


Identification: Large brownish butterflies, usually marked with black. Similar to Nymphalidae (p. 226) but 3A present in FW, discal cell in HW closed by a well-developed vein, and antennae without scales.

Our most common danaid is the Monarch (Pl. 9), Danaus plexippus (Linn.), which occurs throughout the U.S. and s. Canada. The Viceroy (Nymphalidae) is very similar, but is slightly smaller and has a black line across the hind wing. The Monarch is one of the few butterflies in this country that migrate; it migrates south in fall, often in immense aggregations, and reappears in the North the following spring. The Monarchs appearing in the North are usually not the same individuals that migrated south the season before, but their offspring; the insect reproduces on its wintering ground or after a short northward flight in spring. Larvae of danaids feed on milkweed.

Skippers: Superfamily Hesperioidea

Antennae clubbed and usually also hooked at tip, and widely separated at base. R in FW 5-branched, all branches coming off discal cell. Relatively stout-bodied. Strong fliers. Larvae generally pupate in a cocoon formed of leaves and silk.

COMMON SKIPPERS Family Hesperiidae Identification: Head about as wide as or wider than thorax. Hind tibiae usually with 2 pairs of spurs. Wingspread generally less than 30 mm. Widely distributed.

This is a large group and many species are quite common. The front and hind wings at rest are often held at a slightly different angle. Larvae feed on leaves, and usually live in a shelter formed of a rolled-up leaf or several leaves tied together; they are smooth-bodied, with a small and necklike prothorax.

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