Saturday, July 18, 2009
Common Wood Nymph
This chocolate brown butterfly is the Common Wood Nymph (Cercyonis pegala). They are found throughout much of North America. Their coloration is highly variable depending upon where they are encountered. The one pictured here was in NWMO, and they vary from the ones found in Western Missouri or even in the East. They are the only large satyr (measuring up to 2.7 inches) with two large eyespots on the forewing. They go by many different names, but today are considered by many to be one species. This is the only large satyr east of the Mississippi. Usually they prefer sap or fermented fruit, but this one seemed content with coneflower nectar. In the western part of their range they usually nectar at flowers like spiraea and clover. Look for them near woodlands, especially timber contain oak, or pine. They also can be found near streams, roadsides, prairies, meadows and open fields and sometimes backyard gardens like the one here.