Phyciodes tharos (Drury)
April 14, 2007
The Pearl Cresent butterfly is quite variable. Males usually have black antennal knobs. The upper side is orange with black borders. The post-median and sub-marginal areas are crossed by fine black marks. The hindwing underside has a dark marginal patch containing a light-colored crescent. Spring and fall broods (form marcia) have a gray mottled hindwing. The wing span: 1 1/4 - 1 3/4 inches.
Males patrol for females in open areas. The eggs are laid in small batches on the underside of host plant leaves. Caterpillars eat leaves and are gregarious when young. Hibernation is by third-stage caterpillars.
Several broods occur throughout the year in this area.
Caterpillar host plants are smooth-leaved asters. The adults sip nectar from a variety of flowers including dogbane, milkweed, asters and cress.