Phyciodes pallida
Pale Crescent

Family Description:
Alternate Common Name:
Pallid Crescentspot.
Caterpillar: The caterpillar is light brown, striped lengthwise with brown, and has a black head. The body is covered with branching spines.
Adult: The butterfly is medium-sized, with a wingspan of 1 to 1 inches. It is orange on the upperside and marked with brown to black, and possibly with patches of yellow in females. The forewing has thin, black, wavy lines near the body, a black patch on the bottom border of the wing, near the center, and a black edge. The hindwing is also marked with black wavy lines near the body, is edged in black, and has a curved row of black dots. Underneath, the forewing is orange with patches of yellow; the dark spot from above shows through. The underside of the hindwing is yellowish, marked with patches of whitish and light brown. There is a row or partial row of whitish, crescent-shaped spots near the edge. One of these spots is often one larger than the others.

This species ranges from southern British Columbia southeast to northern Arizona and northwestern Colorado, extending east as far as central Montana and western Nebraska. It occurs in sections of Idaho scattered throughout the state.

It occurs most frequently in fields, dry streambeds, valleys, and canyons.


Caterpillar: Caterpillars feed on the leaves of certain thistles in the genus Cirsium.
Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar from yellow flowers belonging to the sunflower family (Asteraceae).

There is one generation of caterpillars each summer. Young caterpillars feed in groups. The overwintering stage is unreported. Adults generally fly from the end of April to July, and from August through October.

Males perch and rarely patrol for receptive females. Females lay groups of eggs on the undersides of host plant leaves.

Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.
Global Rank:

G5; populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.

Ferris, C. D. and F. M. Brown. (eds.) 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, USA, 442 pp.

Opler, P. A., H. Pavulaan, and R. E. Stanford. 1995. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, North Dakota, USA: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. (Version 05Nov98).

Opler, P. A. and A. B.Wright. 1999. A Field Guide to the Western Butterflies. Second Edition. Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York, USA, 540 pp.

Pyle, R. M. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, New York, USA, 924 pp.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA, 583 pp.

Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western U.S.A. Butterflies (Including Adjacent Parts of Canada and Mexico). Published by authors, Denver, Colorado, USA, 275 pp.