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Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

Pearl Crescent transmutationalgarden.files.wordpress.com

Pearl crescents are colorful butterflies found in North America. Their color patterns are somewhat variable geographically, but even with the variations, they are one of the most beautiful butterflies around.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Nymphalidae
  • Genus: Phyciodes
  • Common names: Pearl Crescent
  • Scientific Name: Phyciodes tharos



Pearl Crescent Caterpillar cdn.butterflyatlas.org

Pearl Crescent Butterfly Caterpillar bugguide.net

These are chocolate brown, white, and black with bristles. They feed communally slowly making their way down the food plant.


Pearl Crescent Chrysalis bettyhallphotography.com

The chrysalis is whitish grey to yellow-brown in color with subtle, bumpy ridges on the upper surface.

Adult Butterfly

Sexual Dimorphism: Males have a knob at the tip of their antenna. Females are darker in color than males.

When unfolded, the upper side of the wings is orange with black markings and margins.

Pearl Crescent Pictures pwconserve.org

Pearl Crescent Images wikimedia.org

In a folded position, the underside of the wings are grey-brown to orange-brown; they lack the black dots but have a white crescent along the border.

Average Wingspan: 1.18-1.58 inches (3-4 cm).

Flight Pattern: Erratic; they tend to fly low, staying near the ground, alternating between gliding and flapping their wings.


Pearl Crescent Eggs dallasbutterflies.com

The eggs are green in color and laid in small groupings on the underside of the leaves of their host plant.

Quick Facts

Distribution All of the United States other than the west coast, across Mexico, and Southern Canada
Habitat Fields, pastures, open pine forests, roadsides, and vacant areas
Host plants Various aster plants
Adult diet Nectar from swamp milkweed, dogbane, asters, winter cress and shepherd’s needle

Did You Know?

  • The pearl crescent is often confused with the similar looking northern crescent and tawny crescent.

Adult Pearl Crescent michaelbeohm.tripod.com

Pearl Crescent Butterfly cdn.butterflyatlas.org

Phyciodes Tharos greglasley.com

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