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Copyright by: Archie Edwards
Medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan up to 2-3/4 inches. The uppersides of the wings are pearly white with light brown markings and a double row of light crescents at the pale orange margins. The forewing has one round black spot; the hindwing has two black spots and a short tail. The underside of the hindwing is paler, with pinkish markings. The winter form is larger and paler; the summer form is smaller and darker. The caterpillar is black with small white dots, many rows of stout orange spines, and a pair of long horns with knobs at the tips.
Peninsular Florida, southern Texas, West Indies, Mexico, Central America, South America; a rare wanderer to the north in the United States.
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
Rare immigrant in West Florida and North Florida May-December, common in Central Florida March-December, common to abundant all year in South Florida, locally uncommon to locally common all year in the Keys.
Wet prairies, wet flatwoods, pond and stream margins, roadside ditches and open, disturbed sites.
Three or more broods per year. The green eggs are laid singly on the leaves of the host plant.
Adults fly near the ground with shallow wingbeats. Males patrol and sometimes perch to find females.
Caterpillars feed on the leaves of host plants. Native larval host plants include the wildflowers Carolina wild petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis), turkey tangle fogfruit (Phyla nodiflora), water hyssop (Bacopa monnieri) and other species in the Acanthaceae and Verbeneaceae. Adults nectar on the weedy native wildflower Spanish-needles (Bidens alba var. radiata).