Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Ruddy Daggerwing
Marpesia petreus (Cramer, 1776)

Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Cyrestinae
Tribe: Cyrestini
Identification: Tip of forewing is elongated. Hindwing has long dagger-like tails. Upperside is orange with 3 thin black lines. Underside is mottled brown and black, resembling a dead leaf.
Wing Span: 2 3/4 - 3 3/4 inches (7 - 9.5 cm).
Life History: To watch for females, males perch 15-30 feet above ground on sunlit trees.
Flight: Most of the year in Florida, but are most common from May-July.
Caterpillar Hosts: Common fig (Ficus carica) and wild banyan tree (F. citrifolia) in the fig family (Moraceae).
Adult Food: Nectar from giant milkweed in Florida; Cordia, Casearia, Lantana, and Mikania in the tropics.
Habitat: Tropical lowland forests and edges; hardwood hammocks.
Range: Brazil north through Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies to southern Florida. Strays north to Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, and South Texas.
Conservation: Not of conservation concern in Florida.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.