|Goatweed Leafwing Butterfly - Anaea andria|
Live butterflies photographed in the wild at Winfield, Illinois Family: Nymphalidae (Brushfooted Butterflies)
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Description: The Goatweed Butterfly is relatively large, from 2 - 3". Its wing silhouette is smooth as viewed from the side; not sawtoothed or scalloped. Hindwing has blunt, narrow tail. Male bright orange above, female duller orange with dusky margins and submarginal yellow band. Both sexes are grey or brown below, mottled with brown marks. The Florida Leafwing is similar, but has scalloped wing outline.
Life Cycle: Eggs are laid on or near host plants: goatweeds (Croton spp.) Caterpillar greenish gray with tiny bumps and orange horns on head. Caterpillars fold goatweed leaves over and tie them with silk for shelter. Adult butterflies overwinter. There are 3 overlapping broods.
Range: Michigan through Nebraska and Eastern Colorado, south and east to Gulf States, rarely in Florida. Rarely west to Wyoming and Arizona.
The Goatweed Butterfly is the only representative of a large conglomerate of tropical leafwing butterflies to breed throughout the central plains, and actually survive harsh winters as an adult. The Goatweed, like other leafwing and anglewing butterflies, is an excellent leaf mimic. Almost as good as the common snout butterfly, but lacks the petiole aspect of that camouflage. Andrew Willias, who took these pictures in Texas, tells me these butterflies like to perch high in the trees, which makes sense seeing as how they are hiding in plain view. I've never seen this butterfly here, near Chicago.
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