This butterfly exhibits a large range, extending from southern Canada, throughout the entire U.S., south through Mexico into South America. It occurs in sections of Idaho, primarily in the panhandle and the southwest.
It occurs in many kinds of open, often weedy, areas, including open woodlands, chaparral, along coasts, and in fields and vacant lots.
Caterpillars eat the flowers, fruits and occasionally young leaves of a
large array of both cultivated and wild plants representing over 15 different
families. Cultivated species include corn (Zea mays), cotton (Gossypium
spp.), bean (Phaseolus spp.), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and hops
Adult: Butterflies drink nectar from a wide variety of flowers.
The number of generations of caterpillars each year varies with location, with there being two in the north and up to four in the south. Each caterpillar undergoes four stages of growth, called instars. The caterpillar is equipped with a honey gland, also known as a dorsal nectary organ, which emits a sugary solution agreeable to ants. The ants feed on the solution and in turn protect the caterpillar from predators. The caterpillar is referred to in parts of its range as the "cotton square borer," and it can cause significant damage to crops when feeding in large numbers. Pupae overwinter in a physiological state called diapause. Adults generally fly from March to November. The tails of the two hindwings of the butterfly resemble antennae and may act to fool predators into biting the wrong end of the butterfly allowing it to escape.
Males perch on trees and shrubs in the afternoon and evenings to wait for receptive females. Eggs are laid singly on the flowers of host plants.
|Idaho Status:||Unprotected nongame species.|
|Global Rank:||G5; populations are widespread, abundant, and secure..|
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