tawny emperor (Asterocampa clyton)
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed.
FAMILY: Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)
SUBFAMILY: Emperors (Apaturinae)
IDENTIFICATION: Geographically variable. Upperside is chestnut brown;
forewing with 2 brown bars in the cell, no white spots, and no eyespots
near the outer margin. Hindwing uppersides are orange with black
submarginal spots in one form, and all black in the other form.
LIFE HISTORY: Males perch on trees in full sun to watch for females.
Eggs are laid in large groups of 200-500 on bark or the underside of
mature leaves of host plants. Caterpillars eat leaves and young ones
feed gregariously. Third-stage caterpillars hibernate in groups of about
10 inside a dead curled leaf.
FLIGHT: One brood in the north from June-August, two broods in the
south from March-November.
WING SPAN: 1 5/8 - 2 3/4 inches (4.2 - 7 cm).
CATERPILLAR HOSTS: Trees of the elm family including Celtis
occidentalis, Celtis tenuifolia, Celtis laevigata, Celtis lindheimeri, and
ADULT FOOD: Tree sap, rotting fruit, dung, carrion. Tawny Emperors
almost never visit flowers.
HABITAT: Densely wooded riparian areas, dry woods, open woods, cities,
RANGE: North Dakota south to Texas, east to New England through most
of the southeastern states. Isolated populations in Florida, southwest New
Mexico, and southeastern Arizona.
CONSERVATION: Not usually of ocnservation concern.
NATURESERVE GLOBAL STATUS: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally,
though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the
MANAGEMENT NEEDS: None reported.
SKY MEADOWS OCCURRENCE:
Note: Due to seasonal conditions in this region, occurrence may vary from
year to year. The designation of occurrence may range over two or more
categories and may vary even during a single season.
Key to Checklist
A Abundant: Easy to see very large numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
at proper time of year.
C Common: Usually each to see good numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
at proper time of year.
U Uncommon: Sometimes found in appropriate habitat and proper time of year,
usually in low numbers.
O Occasional: Found in appropriate habitat perhaps only a few times a year, usually
in low numbers.
R Rare: Small chance of being found, even in appropriate habitat at proper time of
year. There are few individuals and may not be present every year.
X Extirpated: Formerly present, no longer occurs in Sky Meadows Park.
Crooked Run Valley