Hackberry Emperor
Asterocampa celtis
Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)


Copyright material courtesy Sandy Hart

Identification Butterflies and Moths of North America, a website hosted by Montana State University. The individuals are extremely variable geographically. The upperside is reddish brown. The forewing has 1 submarginal eyespot, a jagged row of white spots, and the cell has 1 solid black bar and 2 separate black spots.

The Hackberry Butterflies fly in a fast and erratic manner, and rest upside down on tree trunks. Males perch on tall objects in sunny areas to watch for females. Eggs are laid in clusters, and the young caterpillars feed communally. Caterpillars overwinter in groups gathered inside dead rolled leaves. The wingspan is about 2-1/2 inches. The caterpillar host plants are various hackberries (Celtis species) and sugarberry (Celtis laevigata). Adults sip plant sap, rotting fruit, dung, carrion. Will also take moisture at wet spots along roads and streams.

The preferred habitat is along wooded streams, forest glades and river edges, wooded roadsides, towns.

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