Butterflies of the Adirondack Mountains: Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta) in the Paul Smiths VIC Native Species Butterfly House (30 July 2012)

Butterflies of the Adirondack Mountains:
Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta)

Butterflies of the Adirondack Mountains: Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta) in the Paul Smiths VIC Native Species Butterfly House (30 July 2012) Butterflies of the Adirondack Mountains: Northern Crescent in the Paul Smiths VIC Butterfly House (30 July 2012)

The Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta) is a small orange and black butterfly that may be seen in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York in summer. It is a member of the Brushfoot family. [1] Its name derives from the crescent-shaped spot near the margin of the hind wing below. [2] It is sometimes referred to as the Northern Pearl Crescent. [3]

This butterfly is very similar to the Pearl Crescent and has only recently been recognized as a separate species. [4] [5] [6] In fact, more recent evidence suggests that it may not be a full species after all. [7] At least one expert remains unconvinced that this is a valid species, noting that there is considerable overlap in the identifying characteristics of Pearls and Northerns. [8]

From above, the Northern Crescent is orange, with dark borders. The underside of the hind wing is orange with a brown patch surrounding a pale marginal crescent.[9] The tip of the antenna on the Northern Crescent is orange. [10] [11] [12] (That of the Pearl Crescent, at least according to some experts, is black and white.) [13] Female Northern Crescents tend to be larger and darker than males. [14] [15] The Northern Crescent has a wing span of 1 to 1.5 inches. [16] Its fore wings are rounded. [17] The flight of the this butterfly is direct and low, with alternating series of flaps and flat-winged glides. [18]

The female Northern Crescent lays her eggs in groups of around forty on the underside of its preferred host plant -- the aster. [19] Adults consume nectar. [20]

Butterflies of the Adirondack Mountains: Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta) in the Paul Smiths VIC Native Species Butterfly House (30 July 2012)Butterflies of the Adirondack Mountains: Northern Crescent in the Paul Smiths VIC Butterfly House (30 July 2012)

The Northern Crescent ranges from the northeastern parts of the US (including upstate New York) and southern Canada, westward to Vancouver Island. [21] In terms of ecology, the Northern Crescent may be classified as a medium generalist.[22] It can be found in a wide variety of habitats where asters grow, including abandoned city lots, wooded streams, the edges of marshes, forests, and mountain meadows. [23] [24] In 2012, the Northern Crescent was seen in the Paul Smiths VIC Native Species Butterfly House in late July.[25]

References

Explore the VIC

The Paul Smiths VIC offers a wide variety of programs throughout the year to educate and inform Adirondack Park residents and visitors about the natural wonders of the Adirondack Mountains. You can help support these programs by joining the Friends of the VIC. More information on Friends of the VIC memberships

Explore the Trails

The VIC trails are free and open to the public, from dawn to dusk, spring through fall. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiers and snowshoers for a fee. Day or season passes may be purchased.