Mylitta Crescent (Phyciodes mylitta) (W.H. Edwards, 1861)

Diagnosis: A small (wingspan: 27 to 32 mm) bright-orange butterfly, with evenly spaced markings.There are no large, black spots on the upper or lower surface of the forewings. The underside has awell-marked mottled pattern.

Subspecies: Only the nominate subspecies is found in Canada.

Range: Phyctodes mylitta ranges widely in western North America from Mexico to southern Canada.In Canada, it has been recorded only in British Columbia on the southern mainland north to Chilcotin and on Vancouver Island north to Wolfe Lake. It also occurs in Montana close to the Saskatchewanborder.

Specimen collection data

Similar Species: The Mylitta Crescent is closest in appearance to the Pale Crescent (P. pallidus). [compare images]

Description of this image follows.
Mylitta Crescent (Phyciodes
mylitta mylitta
), larva.
J.B. Tatum

Early Stages: The larva is black with yellow dots and lines and many black spines. It feeds on both native thistles (Cirsium spp.) and European thistles (Carduus spp.).

Abundance: This species is common and widespread in its limited Canadian range.

Flight Season: Phyciodes mylitta flies from June until late July in southern British Columbia.

Habits: The Mylitta Crescent can be found in a wide variety of habitats, from vacant urban lots to roadsides and meadows, especially areas where thistles are abundant.

© 2002. This material is reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.