Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Hackberry Emperor
Asterocampa celtis (Boisduval & Leconte, [1835])


Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Apaturinae
Identification: Extremely variable geographically. Upperside is reddish brown. Forewing has 1 submarginal eyespot, a jagged row of white spots, and the cell has 1 solid black bar and 2 separate black spots.
Wing Span: 1 3/8 - 2 1/2 inches (3.5 - 6.3 cm).
Life History: Hackberry Butterflies fly in a fast and erratic manner, and rest upside down on tree trunks. Males perch on tall objects in sunny areas to watch for females. Eggs are laid in clusters, and the young caterpillars feed communally. Caterpillars overwinter in groups gathered inside dead rolled leaves.
Flight: Two broods from May-October.
Caterpillar Hosts: Various hackberries (Celtis species) and sugarberry (Celtis laevigata).
Adult Food: Sap, rotting fruit, dung, carrion. Will take moisture at wet spots along roads and streams.
Habitat: Along wooded streams, forest glades and river edges, wooded roadsides, towns.
Range: Resident in most of the eastern United States, central Plains states, and the southwest mountains; northern Mexico.
Conservation: Not usually of conservation concern.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
Comments: NULL