|Common Wood Nymph Butterfly – Cercyonis pegala|
Live adult butterflies photographed in the wild at northern Illinois Nymphalidae / Subfamily: Satyrinae – Satyrs & Wood Nymphs
Butterfly Main | Skippers | Butterfly Index
I can tell you from bitter experience, this is one of the most elusive butterflies to photograph. They are very wary and almost never stop moving for very long. I consider myself lucky after many hours of chasing these creatures to have these few images.
Identification: Geographically variable. Wings are brown. Upperside of forewing has 2 large yellow-ringed eyespots. Lowerside of hindwing has a variable number of small eyespots. Southern and coastal butterflies are larger and have a yellow or yellow-orange patch on the outer part of the forewing. Inland butterflies are smaller and have the yellow forewing patch reduced or absent.
Life history: Males patrol for females with a dipping flight through the vegetation. In late summer, females lay eggs singly on host plant leaves. Caterpillars hatch but do not feed, instead hibernating until spring.
Flight: One brood from late May-October. Females emerge later than males. Wing span: 1 3/4 – 3 inches (4.5 – 7.6 cm). Caterpillar hosts: Purpletop (Tridens flavus) and other grasses.
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Order Lepidoptera, which contains both butterflies and moths, includes at least 125,000 known species including 12,000 in North America. Butterflies are revered for their brightly colored wings and pleasing association with fair weather and flowers.