Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Northern Crescent
Phyciodes cocyta (Cramer, 1777)

Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Nymphalinae
Identification: Antennal clubs of male are orange. Females are darker than males. Upperside is orange-brown with dark borders; median orange-brown areas are mostly open, with few dark markings. Underside of hindwing is orange with a tan patch surrounding the pale marginal crescent.
Wing Span: 1 1/4 - 1 7/8 inches (3.2 - 4.8 cm).
Life History: All day long, males patrol near the host plants for receptive females. Eggs are laid in bunches of about 40 on the underside of host plant leaves. Caterpillars eat leaves, and young ones live and feed communally. Third-stage caterpillars hibernate.
Flight: One brood from June-July, perhaps two broods in southern Canada.
Caterpillar Hosts: Asters, in the sunflower family (Asteraceae).
Adult Food: Nectar from flowers of dogbane, fleabane, and white clover.
Habitat: Moist open areas in rocky places, wooded streams, marsh edges, and shale barrens.
Range: Newfoundland and northern New England west across the Great Lake states and southern Canada to British Columbia; south in the western mountains to Utah, southeast Arizona, and southern New Mexico; south in the Appalachians to Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Conservation: Some geographically restricted subspecies and unnamed populations should be monitored, managed, or preserved.
Management Needs: Maintain habitat integrity, host plant colonies, and nectar sources.
Comments: NULL