Pearl Crescent, Phyciodes tharos

Pearl Crescent

Phyciodes tharos

Above, the species is black along the margins of the wings with a row of thin submarginal crescents that may or may not be noticeable. The rest of the wing is basically orange with a variety of variable dark markings. The spring generation is sometimes very different looking than the later generation. Notice the female from Greenwood Refuge in Waushara County. This individual has very obvious crescents in the wing margin and looks very similar to a spring Pearl Crescent taken by Will Cook in North Carolina. In the female hindwing, there is a solid marginal line that breaks up the orange area, while the male may be more somewhat more open. Below, there is a darker area in the margin of the hindwing that usually includes a pearl-colored crescent.

Woodland edges, roadsides, and open fields.

Overwintering Strategy:   Mid-stage Caterpillars

Two broods. The first brood is found from early May through early July, and then a second brood is present in August through mid September.

Caterpillar Host Plants:
Several species of smooth-leaved true asters including Aster pilosus, A. texanus, and A. laevis.

The Pearl Crescent is one of the most common and widespread butterflies in the eastern United States. It is also one of the hardest butterflies to identify with certainty, because of two very similar butterflies, the Northern and Tawny Crescents.

Overwintering Strategy

Two-way migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to Central Mexico
Small migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to southern US
Immigrant: Adult migrates into Wisconsin from warmer areas and don't fly south in winter
Adult Butterfly: Hibernates overwinter as an adult butterfly
Eggs: Eggs laid on stems, twigs or foot plants overwinter in diapause
Caterpillar: Caterpillars make nests on the base of plants and hibernate until spring
Chrysalis: Caterpillars shed their last skin, form a chrysalis and enter diapause.

For more information, read: Where Do Butterflies Go In Winter?

Further Information:   

 Design A Butterfly Garden
 Take The Butterfly Quiz
 Monarch Life Cycle
 Butterflies and Moths of North America
 Southern Wisconsin Butterfly Assn (NABA)
 The Butterfly Site

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