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Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats


Crescents (genus Phyciodes)

Crescents, along with Ladies, Checkerspots, Buckeyes, and Anglewings, are  members of the "True" Brushfoot (Nymphalinae) sub-family.

Texas Crescent (Phyciodes texana)

Texas Crescent (Phyciodes texana), Brackenridge Park, San Antonio, Bexar County, TX, 5/28/10    

Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon)

Phaon Crescents are mainly Deep South butterflies.  Fortunately, the Deep South climatic zone includes a narrow sliver of land on the southern North Carolina coast, and apparently they sometimes find their way to the Piedmont area.

Phaon Crescent, Ft. Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 4/27/05 Phaon Crescent, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/21/06 Same Phaon Crescent

Mystery Crescents

Unusual Crescent! It looks somewhat like a Silvery Checkerspot.   I'on Swamp, Francis Marion National Forest, Charleston County, SC, 3/29/06. © 2006 Dorothy E. Pugh.  All rights reserved. Alex Grkovich thinks this was a male Mimic Crescent, and Will Cook's Mimic Crescent page shows a similar butterfly (the 5th one down, photo #1735.)

Pearl Crescents (Phyciodes tharos)

There are large regional and seasonal variations in Pearl Crescent wing patterns.   If you go far enough out of your way, you might find some isolated populations that look different.  There's a lot of speculation about how this affects speciation, but I'm just presenting what I've seen here.

Courting Pearl Crescents, Duke Gardens, 9/18/05.  Male on top, female on bottom. Mating Pearl Crescents,  Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 4/29/06


Female Pearl Crescent, I'on Swamp, Francis Marion National Forest, SC, 3/29/06. Female Pearl Crescent, North Carolina Botanical Garden, 9/25/02. Female Pearl Crescent, Jordan Lake area, Chatham County, NC, 9/11/05. Boone, Watauga County, NC, 8/29/05.  This one looks a little different somewhat like a Northern Crescent. Female Pearl Crescent, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 4/24/06


Also classic male, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, 8/24/05. Male Pearl Crescent, Penny's Bend, Durham County, NC,  9/10/05. Male Pearl Crescent, Occoneechee Mountain, Orange County, NC, 8/12/06.  This butterfly had seen a lot of action, probably rain. Female Pearl Crescent.  The post-median white band on the forewings still seems to fit the Pearl Crescent pattern.  Alex Grkovich says this variant is seen more often in New England.


Female Pearl Crescent apparently producing eggs if not exactly laying them.  Penny's Bend, Durham County, NC, 5/5/06.  This looks a little dark. A very unusual-looking Pearl Crescent at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens sometime in the fall, probably in 2002.  Note the large black areas and the odd green tint.  Maybe it's just wear and tear, but it's suspiciously bilaterally symmetrical. Female Pearl Crescent, NC Botanical Garden, 11/04/03.  This Pearl Crescent seems to have smaller forewings relative to its hind wings than the others on this page do.


4/22/04.  Emerging from a chrysalis.

Male Pearl Crescent ventral views

Male, Durham, 7/28/03.  some wear and tear is evident on the near forewing. Male, Umstead State Park, 9/05/04. Male, Durham, 9/28/05. Male, Durham, 10/3/05. This butterfly had his proboscis in the slightly muddy ground of a mostly dried-up creek bed.

Female Pearl Crescent ventral views

Pigmentation is lighter in the warmer months.  Note the 8/29/05 Boone Pearl Crescent, which looked very similar to the 10/6/05 Dare County Pearl Crescent.

Pearl Crescent, quite difference in appearance
Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 4/18/08
Pearl Crescent, Mason Farm Biological Reserve (area north of the creek), 4/28/07.  Remarkably light-colored for that time of year.  That April was unusually warm, with many days with 80s temperatures. Pearl Crescent, Durham, 4/29/06 Pearl Crescent, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/10/06 Female Pearl Crescent,  Moses Cone Memorial Park, Watauga County, NC, 8/8/06 Pearl Crescent, Durham, 8/25/03 Pearl Crescent, Boone, Watauga County, NC, 8/29/05.  


Pearl Crescent, Duke Gardens, 9/17/05 Pearl Crescent, Raulston Arboretum, Wake County, NC, 9/23/05 Pearl Crescent, Dare County, NC, 10/6/05. Pearl Crescent, Durham, 10/19/03


The dorsal side patterns show through here.  Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/8/05. Pearl Crescent, Durham, 11/11/05.  Here, you see the dorsal pattern on the near forewing and the ventral pattern on the far forewing.


© Copyright 2005-2008 Dorothy E. Pugh