New Jersey Butterflies

Common Wood-Nymph

Cercyonis pegala

Identification: Medium—2.3" (larger than Cabbage White). Above: FW and HW dark brown, FW with large yellow patch in the outer portion surrounding two eyespots. HW has variable number of small eyespots. Seldom seen with wings open. Below: FW and HW brown to gray-brown with very fine dark striations, and small, variably-sized eyespots on HW. Dorsal FW pattern of 2 dark eyespots in yellow patch is visible below. Some individuals lack yellow patches both above and below.

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. Widespread and fairly common throughout.

NJ Range Map-Common Wood-Nymph

Habitat: Open sunny fields, particularly with shrubs and thickets. Feeding on dung, carrion, and overripe fruit as well as nectar, it is seldom attracted to garden flowers.

Flight Period: One brood, from mid-June to late September. Extreme dates: North Jersey 6/11—9/27; South Jersey 5/18—10/6.

Larval Food Plants: Various grasses, including Purpletop (Tridens flavus).

Overwintering Stage: Larva.

Best Locations: Fields and wood edges anywhere.

Comments: Individuals with dark, instead of yellow, forewing patches are sometimes seen in the northern counties.



Common Wood-Nymph

Willowwood Arb., Morris Co., NJ, 6/17/12.


Common Wood-Nymph

Appalachian Trail Lands, Vernon, Sussex Co., NJ, 6/30/02.


Common Wood-Nymph

Dark color type, Hiawatha NF, MI, 7/14/11.