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First Brood of Pearl Crescents Emerging

6-15-18 pearl crescent_U1A6249The first of this summer’s broods of Pearl Crescents are maturing. Our smallest and most common black and orange butterfly can be found throughout the eastern half of the U.S.. This particular species is named after a crescent-shaped spot near the margin of the hind wing on the underside. Its wingspread is about an inch and a half. The exact pattern on its wings is highly variable, making it challenging at times to distinguish it from other crescents.

Asters are the primary food source of Pearl Crescent larvae. Mated females lay their clusters of 20-300 green-yellow eggs on aster leaves, and in roughly a week the brown, black and white spiny larvae emerge. Two broods are common in the Northeast, so one can continue to look for crescent caterpillars on asters into August.  Note:  The Northern Crescent is very similar-looking to the Pearl Crescent (it may not even be a distinct species). Photo could be of either species. All lepidopterists welcome to comment!

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6 responses

  1. You’ve done it again Mary, and really brightened the start of my day with an exquisitely beautiful photograph and a short but really interesting bit of knowledge on nature. Thank you for all of your posts, and the light that your dedicated work brings to my life. Craig

    June 15, 2018 at 8:02 am

    • Thank you so very much for your kind words, Craig. I am humbled by them.

      June 15, 2018 at 8:38 am

  2. Alice Pratt

    Such a pretty little butterfly! Even it’s antennae are decorated….. and along it’s body, it looks a butterfly is outlined….I’ll need to check my 3 Asters, which are awaiting being planted.

    June 15, 2018 at 8:37 am

  3. Derek Levin

    Carolina Wren
    Two years ago I had a brood of Caroline Wrens nesting in my back entryway. Only one exit. I got a chance to play around a little bit with the chicks. No Wrens last year. This year I have a wren back in the old place. It is very relaxed with me. I think she remembers me. I’m guessing she is one of the nestlings of two years ago

    June 15, 2018 at 10:08 am

  4. Dianne Wright

    Beautiful and also amazing symmetry .

    Sent from my iPad


    June 16, 2018 at 7:06 pm

  5. Darlene Zelazo

    Lovely these

    June 20, 2018 at 4:58 pm

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