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The Garden Writers Association

 
Last Update 06/03/08
The Brushfoot Butterflies

A very large family of butterflies with 23 species known to breed in Florida.

gulf fritillary

Gulf Fritillary (front and back)
Dione (Agraulis) vanillae nigrior

Habitat:  Open fields and gardens.
Flight:
  All year.
Preferred Foods:
  Spanish needle (Bidens pilosa) and lantana (Lantana spp.).
Larvae:
  On maypops (Passiflora incarnate).
Distribution:
  All of Florida.

orange long wing

Orange (=Julia) Long Wing
(front and back)
Dryas iulia largo

Habitat:  Hardwood hammock and open fields.
Flight:
  All year.
Preferred Foods:
  Spanish needle (Bidens pilosa) and lantana (Lantana spp.).
Larvae:
  On passion vine (Passiflora spp.).
Distribution:
  South Florida.

zebra long wing

Zebra Long Wing
Heliconius chartonius tuckeri

Habitat:  Hardwood hammocks, brushy fields, pine-oak woods and gardens.
Flight:
  All year.
Preferred Foods:
  Spanish needle (Bidens pilosa) and lantana (Lantana spp.).
Larvae:
  On passion vine (Passiflora spp.).
Distribution:
  All of Florida.

variegated fritillary

Variegated Fritillary
Euptoieta claudia

Habitat:  Open fields.
Flight:
  March to December.
Preferred Foods:
   Search for nectar from a variety of plants.
Larvae:
  Feed on various plants including stonecrop (sedum spp.) and beggar's tick (Desmodium spp.).
Distribution:
  All of Florida.

streamside checkerspot

Streamside (=Silvery) Checkerspot
Chlosyne (Charidryas) nycteis

Habitat:  Open moist deciduous woods.
Flight:
  March to September.
Preferred Foods:
  Milkweed (Asclepias spp.), red clover (Trifolium pratense) and composites.
Larvae:
  On composites.
Distribution:
  Florida near Marianna only.

seminole crescent

Seminole (=Texas) Crescent
Phyciodes (Anthanassa) texana seminole

Habitat:  Along banks of streams.
Flight:
  March to November.
Preferred Foods:
  Various flowers.
Larvae:
  Feed on water willow Justicia sp., Acanthaceae.
Distribution:
  Florida south to Orlando and Tampa.
 

black crescent

Black (=Cuban) Crescent
Phyciodes (Eresia) frisia

Habitat:  Open fields.
Flight:
  All year; migratory.
Preferred Foods:
  Various flowers.
Larvae:
  On shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana) and others.
Distribution:
  Tropical Florida.

mat plant

Mat Plant (=Phaon) Crescent
Phyciodes phaon

Habitat:  Swampy areas.
Flight:
  March to December.
Preferred Foods:
  Flowers of mat grass (Lippia nodiflora) and other composites.
Larvae:
  On mat grass.
Distribution:
  All of Florida.

pearl crescent

Pearl Crescent
Phyciodes tharos tharos

Habitat:  Swampy areas and open fields.
Flight:
  All year in south Florida.
Preferred Foods:
  Many kinds of flowers including Spanish needle, milkweed and many composites.
Larvae:
  Feed on various smooth-leaved asters.
Distribution:
  All of Florida, rarely on Keys.

question mark

Question Mark
Polygonia interrogationis

Habitat:  Open fields and deciduous woods.
Flight:
  All year.
Preferred Foods:
  Attracted to sap, rotting fruit, carrion, dung and mud.
Larvae:
  On various trees, Ulmaceae, Moraceae, and herbaceous Urticaceae.
Distribution:  Northern Florida south to Orlando and Ft. Myers.

comma anglewing

Comma Anglewing (=Hop Merchant)
Polygonia comma

Habitat:  Open fields.
Flight:
  May to September.
Preferred Foods:
  Attracted to sap, fruit, carrion and mud.
Larvae:
  On nettle and elm family.
Distribution:  Northern Florida, Panhandle south to Gainesville area.

mourning cloak

Mourning Cloak
Nymphalis antiopa

Habitat:  Open deciduous woodlands.
Flight:
  February to March.
Preferred Foods:
  Attracted to nectar, sap, decaying plants and mud.
Larvae:
  On many species of trees, but not palm or pine.
Distribution:  Florida in Jacksonville and Tampa areas only.

american painted lady

American Painted Lady
Vanessa virginiensis

Habitat:  Open fields and gardens.
Flight:
  All year, though mainly spring and fall.
Preferred Foods:
  Attracted to nectar and mud.
Larvae:
  On many species of asters.
Distribution:  All of Florida.
 

red admiral

Red Admiral
Vanessa atalanta rubria

Habitat:  Open fields, deciduous forests and gardens.
Flight:
  All year.
Preferred Foods:
  Attracted to sap flows, fermenting fruits and bird droppings, rarely on flowers.
Larvae:
  On nettles (Urticaceae), false nettles (Boehmena cylindrica) and Moraceae.
Distribution:  All of Florida.

the buckeye

The Buckeye
Precis (Junonia) coenia

Habitat:  Open weedy fields and pine woods.
Flight:
  All year.
Preferred Foods:
  Visit composite flowers.
Larvae:
  On snapdragons (Anthirrhinum orontium), plantain (Plantago lanceolata) and Acanthaceae.
Distribution:  All of Florida.

black mangrove

Black Mangrove (=Caribbean) Buckeye
Precis (Junonia) genoveva

Habitat:  Open fields with low vegetation, coastal black mangrove swamps and tidal flats.
Flight:
  All year.
Preferred Foods:
  Visits flowers of various plants.
Larvae:
  On herbaceous Verbenacaea, black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) and blue porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis).
Distribution:  South Florida along coast.

white peacock

White Peacock
Anartia jatrophae guantanamo

Habitat:  Open fields near swampy areas, ponds and streams.
Flight:
  All year in south Florida.
Preferred Foods:
  Visits Spanish needle.
Larvae:
  On Scrophalariaceae, including water hyssop (Bacopa monniera), Acanthaceae, such as Ruellia spp.
Distribution:  Peninsular Florida.

malachite

Malachite
Siproeta stelenes biplagiata

Habitat:  In wooded area, in mango, citrus and avocado groves.
Flight:
  All year.
Preferred Foods:
  Attracted to rotting fruit, dung and flowers.
Larvae:
  On cajetin (Blechum brownei) and Ruellia spp.
Distribution:  Tropical Florida.

red spotted purple

Red Spotted Purple
Limenitis arthemis astyanax

Habitat:  Open woodlands, open fields near edge of forests.
Flight:
  March to October.
Preferred Foods:
  Attracted to rotting fruit, carrion, dung and sap flows.
Larvae:
  On wild cherry (Prunus serotina), oaks and other trees.
Distribution:  Florida south to Orlando and Tampa, rare southward.
 

viceroy

Viceroy
Limenitis archippus floridensis

Habitat:  Brushy fields marshes and lake shores.
Flight:
  April to September.
Preferred Foods:
  Attracted carrion, dung and flowers of composites.
Larvae:
  On willows (Salicaceae).
Distribution:  All of Florida except Keys.

large purplewing

Large (=Florida) Purplewing
Eunica tatila tatilista

Habitat:  Hardwood hammocks.
Flight:
  All year except June.
Preferred Foods:
  Attracted to rotting fruit, dung, mud and sap flows, rarely visits flowers.
Larvae:
  On crabwood Gymnanthes lucida (Euphorbiaceae).
Distribution:  Tropical Florida.

dingy purplewing

Dingy Purplewing
Eunica monima

Habitat: Hardwood hammocks.
Flight:
  May to December.
Preferred Foods:
  Attracted to sap flows, rotting fruit, carrion, dung and mud rarely visits flowers.  Rests in trees.
Larvae:
  On gumbo limbo (Bursera simaruba, Burseraceae).
Distribution:  Tropical Florida, rare.

red dagger

Red (=Ruddy) Dagger Wing
Marpesia pretreus

Habitat:  Hardwood hammocks, wooded swampy areas..
Flight:
  All year.
Preferred Foods:
  Visits giant milkweed, rotting fruit and mud.
Larvae:
  On wild banyon tree (Ficus citrifolia) and common fig (Ficus carica).
Distribution:  Florida from St. Augustine and Tampa south.

 

More: Butterfly Index, Butterfly Plants, Brushfoots, Milkweeds, Swallowtails

 

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