Cercyonis pegala (Fabricius, 1775)
Identification: Geographically variable. Wings are brown. Upperside of forewing has 2 large yellow-ringed eyespots. Lowerside of hindwing has a variable number of small eyespots. Southern and coastal butterflies are larger and have a yellow or yellow-orange patch on the outer part of the forewing. Inland butterflies are smaller and have the yellow forewing patch reduced or absent.
Wing Span: 1 3/4 - 3 inches (4.5 - 7.6 cm).
Life History: Males patrol for females with a dipping flight through the vegetation. In late summer, females lay eggs singly on host plant leaves. Caterpillars hatch but do not feed, instead hibernating until spring.
Flight: One brood from late May-October. Females emerge later than males.
Caterpillar Hosts: Purpletop (Tridens flavus) and other grasses.
Adult Food: Rotting fruit, flower nectar.
Habitat: Large, sunny, grassy areas including prairies, open meadows, bogs, and old fields.
Range: Southern Canada and the continental United States except for most of the Southwest and Texas, southern peninsular Florida, and northern Maine.
Conservation: Isolated populations in Great Basin wetlands may be of 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.
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