Phyciodes tharos (Drury, 1773)
Identification: Quite variable. Males usually have black antennal knobs. Upperside is orange with black borders; postmedian and submarginal areas are crossed by fine black marks. Underside of hindwing has a dark marginal patch containing a light-colored crescent. Spring and fall broods (form marcia) have a gray mottled hindwing below.
Wing Span: 1 1/4 - 1 3/4 inches (3.2 - 4.5 cm).
Life History: Males patrol open areas for females. Eggs are laid in small batches on underside of host plant leaves. Caterpillars eat leaves and are gregarious when young. Hibernation is by third-stage caterpillars.
Flight: Several broods; from April-November in the north, throughout the year in the Deep South and Mexico.
Caterpillar Hosts: Several species of smooth-leaved true asters including Aster pilosus, A. texanus, and A. laevis.
Adult Food: Nectar from a great variety of flowers including dogbane, swamp milkweed, shepherd's needle, asters, and winter cress.
Habitat: Open areas such as pastures, road edges, vacant lots, fields, open pine woods.
Range: Southeastern Alberta south through Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and southeastern California to Mexico; east to southern Ontario and all the eastern United States.
Conservation: Not usually required.
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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