Annotated Checklist of Butterflies
Swallowtails (Family Papilionidae)
Pink-spotted Cattleheart (Parides photinus) Found in Monterry, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Possible stray to South Texas.
Polydamas Swallowtail (Battus polydamas) Uncommon but regular in the RGV. Has recently started breeding as far north as Houston and Austin!
Dark Kite-Swallowtail (Eurytides philolaus) Very rare stray. Two records in 2002 from Cameron and Hidalgo counties. Several spottings in July 2006 in Weslaco, Santa Ana NWR, and western Hidalgo County.
Guatemalan Kite-Swallowtail (Eurytides epidaus) Occurs as far north as southern Tamaulipas, Mexico
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes asterius form pseudoamericus)
Thoas Swallowtail (Papilio thoas) According to the USGS website, this species has been recorded from across the RGV and has strayed as far north as Kansas and Colorado. There are only a few representatives in the Kendall Collection, none of which are from Texas. There is one specimen locally collected in the Dallas Museum of Natural History collected in 1942.
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) Common throughout Texas.
Ornythion Swallowtail (Papilio ornythion) This usually rare butterfly is occasionally seen in small numbers emigrating northward in the western reaches of the Valley.
Broad-banded Swallowtail (Papilio astyalus) Rare. Multiple sightings during the summer of 2005.
Three-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio pilumnus) Fairly common in Monterrey, but quite rare in South Texas. Along with the RGV, has also been recorded in southeastern Arizona.
Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) Flies in east and central Texas.
Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes) This species is present both to the north and south of the Rio Grande. It would only be recorded in southmost Texas as a stray as its caterpillar food plant, primarily Redbay (Persea borbonia), doesn't grow here. NABA reports that there are some old Valley records. This butterfly has been recorded in nearby Kennedy County and the Picachos Mountains.
Magnificent Swallowtail (Papilio garamas abderus) One US record from Brownsville, Cameron Co. This species can be quite common in Monterrey.
Pink-spotted Swallowtail (Papilio rogeri pharnaces) - Rare stray. Less than five U.S. records, all in Hidalgo Co.
Ruby-spotted Swallowtail (Papilio anchisiades) Stray to the Rio Grande Valley. Has strayed as far north as Kansas.
Mexican Dartwhite (Catasticta nimbice) This atypical white looks more like a brushfoot. Common south of the Rio Grande. Has strayed to Big Bend. Possible stray along the Lower Rio Grande. Caterpillars feed on mistletoe.
Florida White (Appias drusilla) The Florida White is widespread in Mexico as indicated by its other common name, the Tropical White. Most RGV records are from near the coast.
Green-eyed White (Leptophobia aripa) One October 1988 record from Santa Ana NWR, Hidalgo Co.
Checkered White (Pontia protodice) Uncommon in South Texas.
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) Rare in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, but one of the most common butterflies in the United States. Recent sighting during the winter of 2005 at Frontera Audubon in Weslaco, Texas.
Great Southern White (Ascia monuste) This species is the most common of the white butterflies in our area. It prefers open habitats especially along the coast. South Padre Island and Laguna Atascosa are productive places to survey. Florida and Giant Whites are two other similarly sized white butterflies to watch for.
Giant White (Ganyra josephina) Uncommon along Rio Grande. Strays to the north.
Common Melwhite (Melete lycimnia isandra) - First and second New U.S. Records came back to back November 20-21, 2004 in Mission, TX. Host plant in Costa Rica is one of the True Mistletoes, Phoradendron quadrangulare, which ranges north to Tamaulipas, Mexico. The common Mistletoe in Texas, Phoradendron tomentosum, might serve as an alternate host.
Falcate Orange-Tip (Anthocharis midea) Rare in the LRGV. Flies in early spring. Reported from NABA Int'l Butterfly Park in Spring 2006.
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme) Occasional
Southern Dogface (Zerene cesonia) Common
White Angled-Sulphur (Anteos clorinde) Occasional
Yellow Angled-Sulphur (Anteos maerula) Occasional
Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) Common throughout Texas. Go eye-to-ocelli with the caterpillar!
Orange-barred Sulphur(Phoebis philea) Occasional
Large Orange Sulphur (Phoebis agarithe) Common
Lyside Sulphur (Kricogonia lyside) This medium sized pale green Sulphur is rarely missed on a day in the field. At times, Lysides reach population levels exceeded only by the American Snout. These population peaks usually follow large summer rains. This species has few prominent field marks, but do look for the spot of yellow at the bases of their forewings.
Barred Yellow (Eurema daira) This species of the southeastern U.S. is rare in the Rio Grande Valley.
Ghost Yellow (Eurema albula) Only U.S. record from Roma, Starr Co. on November 13, 1993.
Boisduval's Yellow (Eurema boisduvaliana) Rare along the Rio Grande. Few strays to the north.
Mexican Yellow (Eurema mexicana) Pale yellow above. Uncommon in the Valley, common in the southwestern U.S.
Salome Yellow (Eurema salome) Bright yellow above. Less than five U.S. records, all from either Hidalgo or Cameron County.
Tailed Orange (Eurema proterpia) Uncommon. Winter and summer form. Note summer form usually has no tail.
Little Yellow (Eurema lisae) Common South Texas Species. Look for two tiny black dots at base of hindwing. This field mark is very reliable and separates the similar appearing Mimosa Yellow.
Mimosa Yellow (Eurema nise) Common South Texas Species. Note the lack of black spots at the base of the hindwing. This field mark separates the similar appearing Little Yellow.
Dina Yellow (Eurema dina) Less than five RGV records in Hidalgo and Cameron counties. Also recorded in south Florida and in southeastern Arizona.
Sleepy Orange (Eurema nicippe) Uncommon. Orange above with wide black borders. Flies close to the ground.
Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole) Uncommon and very small. Greenish-yellow appearance. Weak flier and also fliesclose to the ground.
Bold Mimic-White (Enantia jethys) This species is similar to the Costa-spotted Mimic-White which was recorded once in Hidalgo Co.
Gossamer-wing Butterflies (Family Lycaenidae)
Superb Cycadian (Eumaeus childrenae) There is an old 1915 RGV record for the Mexican Cycadian (E. toxea) but the Superb Cycadian appears to be the more common of the two species in Nuevo Leon and in Tamaulipas.
Strophius Hairstreak (Allosmaitia strophius) - Rare
Regal Greatstreak (Evenus regalis)
Sky-blue Greatstreak (Pseudolycaena damo) Pseudolycaena marsyas was reported for South Texas by Pyle, but P. damo is the only species in Mexico that could hypothetically stray to the Rio Grande Valley.
Great Purple Hairstreak (Atlides halesus) Occasional. Comes to flowers. Caterpillars feed on mistletoe.
Black-veined Greatstreak (Atlides polybe)
Creamy Stripe-streak (Arawacus jada) This species has not yet been recorded north of the Rio Grande in Texas, but is common to the south.
Fine-lined Stripe-streak (Arawacus sito) Recently seen at El Salto, San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
Gold-bordered Hairstreak (Rekoa palegon) - Less than five U.S. records.
Smudged Hairstreak (Rekoa stagira) 1st documented U.S. record at National Butterfly Center on 12/28/05.
Black Hairstreak (Ocaria ocrisia) One November 1968 record from Santa Ana NWR, Hidalgo Co.
Silver-banded Hairstreak (Chlorostrymon simaethis) Uncommon along Rio Grande. Strays to the north. Look for this species in open areas where Ballonvine, its caterpillar food plant grows. It is frequently passed over due to its smallness, green coloration and sedentary habits. Upon discovery, one will marvel at its bright green coloration and prominent silver stripe. Best searched for around Cattail and Pintail Lakes on Santa Ana NWR.
Silver-banded Hairstreak x Clytie Ministreak Cross-breeding pair
Common Brangas (Brangas neora) Present in southern Tamaulipas.
Oak Hairstreak ( Satyrium favonius) Rare.
Tropical Greenstreak (Cyanophrys herodotus) Only U.S. records from Hidalgo and Brewster Counties.
Mountain Greenstreak (Cyanophrys longula) Present in northern Nuevo Leon.
Xami Hairstreak (Callophrys xami) An established colony has recently been located on Loma Alta along the Old Port Isabel road northeast of Brownsville. Other lomas east of Brownsville along Hwy 4 are known to have this butterfly's caterpillar food plant, Sedum texanum. Single adults are being recorded at various locations in Hidalgo Co.
Zebra-crossing Hairstreak (Panthiades bathildis) Has been recorded in Monterrey, N.L., Mexico.
Henry's Elfin (Callophrys henrici) Closest populations are in Hill Country and northwestern Mexico.
Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus) Closest populations are in Hill Country and northwestern Mexico.
Aquamarine Hairstreak (Oenomaus ortygnus) This photo from the National Butterfly Center represents the third U.S. record. According to Howe's (1975) Butterflies of North America, "A single specimen was taken, and another seen, in Brownsville, Texas, in 1962."
Mexican-M Hairstreak (Parrhasius moctezuma) Parrhasius hairstreaks are oak feeders. White M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album) occurs to the north of us on the Edwards Plateau. Mexican M Hairstreak occurs in mountains to the south. Oaks are not native along the Lower Rio Grande though many have been planted there.
Lilaceous Hairstreak (Apuecla maeonis) No US records but recently recorded at Parque Chipinque, Monterrey, N.L., Mexico.
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus) The most common and widespread hairstreak in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Caterpillars use a wide variety of foodplants including mallows and legumes.
Red-crescent Scrub-Hairstreak (Strymon rufofusca) This occasional species was recently found in large numbers on the King Ranch. Host is Malvastrum coromandelianum.
Red-lined Scrub-Hairstreak (Strymon bebrycia) This species is quite rare in the RGV where it's only known from Hidalgo Co. It's also recorded in the Trans-Pecos and in southeast Arizona.
Yojoa Scrub-Hairstreak (Strymon yojoa) This species is mostly found in the RGV from October to February, however this individual was photographed in mid June. Caterpillar food plant of the Yojoa is Heart-leaf Hibiscus, a plant native to southmost Texas.
White Scrub-Hairstreak (Strymon albata) Rare stray along the Rio Grande. Only U.S. records are from Hidalgo and Cameron counties. It's host plants are mallows in the genus Abutilon.
Lacey's Scrub-Hairstreak (Strymon alea) Locally present in South Texas up to Austin (Mount Bonnell). In October of 2003, several were found at Santa Ana NWR both at the Old Cemetery and at the Visitors' Center.
Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak (Strymon istapa) This is a fairly common species throughout the Valley. It often comes to gardens. Has strayed as far north as Dallas in Texas.
Tailless Scrub-Hairstreak (Strymon cestri) Rare. All Texas records from Hidalgo and Cameron Counties.
Ruddy Hairstreak (Electrostrymon sangala) Rare. All U.S. records along the lower Rio Grande. Recorded several times in the RGV in the mid 1970's.
Orange-crescent Groundstreak (Ziegleria guzanta) - New U.S. Records! Apparently present in low numbers along the Rio Grande from Big Bend to the lower Rio Grande Valley. Multiple records recorded in and around the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park in 2004.
Dusky-blue Groundstreak (Calycopis isobeon) Found in similar abundances and situations as Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak.
Clytie Ministreak (Ministrymon clytie) Usually encountered in ones or twos, however during July of 2001, hundreds were reported from the Laguna Atascosa NWRs butterfly Gardens! Look for the orange cell end bar in the forewing. Has strayed to Bexar Co. It's host plant is Screwbean Mesquite (Prosopus reptans).
Silver-banded Hairstreak x Clytie Ministreak Cross-breeding pair
Gray Ministreak (Ministrymon azia) Rare along the Rio Grande. Few strays to the north. Host plant is Mimosa malacophylla. Our smallest hairstreak.
Pearly-gray Hairstreak (Strephonota tephraeus) Third US record. Recorded from Penitas in 1995. Only one prior US record.
Arizona Hairstreak (Erora quaderna) The only Texas records for this species are from Big Bend, but it was recently recorded from Parque Chipinque, N.L., Mexico
Western Pygmy-Blue (Brephidium exile) Probably most common at the Texas Nature Conservancys Chihuahua Woods Preserve just north of Bentsen State Park. Notice the Crab Spider in this picture!!!
Cassius Blue (Leptotes cassius) Rare along the Rio Grande.
Marine Blue (Leptotes marina) Uncommon in the Valley, but common and wide spread throughout the southwestern US.
Cyna Blue (Zizula cyna) Rare. This is one of the few live photographs of this species. Has strayed as far north as the panhandle.
Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus) Common. Frequents gardens.
Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus) Life History pictoral inclusing pictures of "ant organs."
Reakirt's Blue (Hemiargus isola) Common. Frequents gardens.
Eastern Tailed-Blue (Everes comyntas) Rare along the Rio Grande, more common both to the north and south.
Spring Azure (Celastrina "ladon") Spring Azures are present both to the north and south of the Rio Grande, but not in South Texas.
Metalmarks (Family Riodinidae)
Calephelis Metalmarks of Southwest Texas by Nick Grishin. (This is a rather large file.)
Fatal Metalmark (Calephelis nemesis) Common in South Texas, often in garden situations. Range in US along southwestern border.
Rounded Metalmark (Calephelis nilus) Common in South Texas, often in garden situations. Only US records are from south and central Texas.
Rawson's Metalmark (Calephelis rawsoni) Very few verified records along the Rio Grande, common on the Edward's Plateau to the west of Austin.
Metalmark (Calephelis sp.) South of the Rio there are even more species of Calephelis Metalmarks that are presently not possible to sight ID.
Red-bordered Metalmark (Caria ino) Frequents gardens along the Rio Grande. Only US records from south Texas.
Square-spotted Yellowmark (Baeotis zonata) Recorded in southern Tamaulipas.
Blue Metalmark (Lasaia sula) Not recorded north of the Rio Grande Valley. Most common in Cameron County. It's most dependable at the Sabal Palm Grove. Other good locations are Laguna Atascosa NWR and Los Ebanos Preserve. This species occasionally is locally abundant. Over 300 were reported at Laguna Atascosa in November 2003. Host plant is Screwbean Mesquite (Prosopis reptans).
Black-spotted Bluemark (Lasaia agesilas) No U.S. records.
Gray Bluemark (Lasaia maria) No U.S. records.
Red-bordered Pixie (immature) (Melanis pixe) Not recorded north of the Rio Grande Valley. This magical species is sometimes difficult to find. Colonies of this butterfly seem to be ephemeral even though its caterpillar food plant, the Guamuchil (Pithecellobium dulce, legume family ), is a fast growing tree that itself forms colonies. Pixie hosting Guamuchils are known from Raymondville, Port Isabel (Adams & Tarnava, Manautou & Monroe), Weslaco (Oklahoma & 6th), McAllen (6th & Orange), Edinburg (University & Hwy 281) and in Mission. Pixies seem to prefer to fly in overcast, even drizzly weather. The lesson here is that even in normally poor butterflying weather, good things can show up in the Valley! Thorn Bugs are also sometimes found on the Guamuchils.
Curve-winged Metalmark (Emesis emesia) This beautiful butterfly is becoming more common in the Rio Grande Valley. Only US records from Hidalgo and Cameron Counties. Most records between October and February. Host plant is Mexican Caesalpinia (Caesalpinia mexicana).
Falcate Metalmark (Emesis tenedia) First US record from Ann Swengel's photograph shot at Santa Margarita Ranch, Starr County on October 8, 1987. This species became well established along the Rio Grande in Starr Co., e.g. Salineno and Fronton until 1995 according to Bordelon & Knudson. Richard Boscoe reared this species on Clematis drummondii.
Walker's Metalmark (Apodemia walkeri) Rare stray to southmost Texas. Only US records from Cameron and Hidalgo Counties
Carousing Jewelmark (Anteros carausius) Can be regular in northern Nuevo Leon, but has not been recorded from the US. Hard to believe that its even a Metalmark!!
Mexican Mottlemark (Calydna sinuata) Present in northeastern Mexico, no U.S. records.
Sword-tailed Beautymark (Rhetus arcius) This species is a particularly good example of how bizarre tropical Metalmarks can be!! There are no US records for this species, though it occurs 250 miles south of the Rio Grande.
Giant Metalmark (Behemothia godmanii) This behemoth and rare species was recently spotted at Gomez-Farias (El Cielo). This is yet another example of a possible US record which occurs only a few hundred miles south of the Rio Grande.
Brush-footed Butterflies (Family Nymphalidae)
American Snout (Libytheana carinenta) Insanely abundant at times...
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) Common throughout Texas. Frequents gardens.
Mexican Silverspot (Dione moneta) Rare in the Rio Grande Valley. Occasionally strays to the north.
Banded Orange Heliconian (Dryadula phaetusa) A very rare stray. However, this species has recently been reported from Frontera Audubon Sanctuary in Weslaco; from the butterfly gardens at Santa Ana NWR; from a bayside woodlot on South Padre Island; and just northeast of Los Fresnos in Cameron County during March and April of 1999 and 2000.
Julia Heliconian (Dryas julia) Fairly common in areas with passionvine. Regularly strays to central Texas, primarily in the fall.
Isabella's Heliconian (Eueides isabella) Regular fall stray to Hidalgo Co. Though strays to the north are rare, this species has been recorded as far north as Kansas several times.
Zebra Heliconian (Heliconius charithonius) Regular at Santa Ana NWR. Hike the half-mile "A" Trail to search for this magnificent butterfly. The Forest Trail at the Palm Grove is also a good site for this species. Zebras are commonly found in openings along wooded trails. They form communal roosts at night. 2004 was a good year for this species, see county record map for 2004.
Tiger Heliconian (Heliconius ismenius) Similar to the Isabella's Heliconian but the Tiger has not yet been recorded in the U.S.
Erato Heliconian (Heliconius erato) A rare stray to the RGV. Only officially recorded from Hidalgo Co. in the US.
Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia) Common. Widespread and likes fields and more arid areas. Heavily marked and is more of an orange-brown color. Mexican Fritillary is similar, but upperside of hindwing has comparably fewer markings.
Mexican Fritillary (Euptoieta hegesia) This species is more common in Star County. It occasionally comes to gardens. Few Texas strays north of the Rio Grande Valley.
Theona Checkerspot (chlosyne theona) A highly variable species. Best searched for at Laguna Atascosas new Butterfly Gardens. Look for their dark larvae on the purple sage bushes around the visitors' center. Their white with black striped pupae can often be found on the walls of the visitors' center.
Bordered Patch (Chlosyne lacinia) This species and its larvae are commonly found in gardens throughout South Texas. Look for its communal larvae on common sunflowers and Cowpen daisies.
Definite Patch (Chlosyne definita) Check the lomas and the Palo Alto Battlefield http://www.nps.gov/paal/naturescience/index.htm north of Brownsville. Large population established at Kleberg Park, Kingsville, Kleberg County. Caterpillar food plant is Stenandrium dulce.
Banded Patch (Chlosyne endeis) A rare bug! Possible colony near La Gloria, Hidalgo Co.
Black Checkerspot (Chlosyne cyneas) Occurs in SE. AZ and northern Mexico, but no RGV records...
Crimson Patch (Chlosyne janais) Occasional to locally common. Strays to Central Texas. Colony at Frontera Audubon, Weslaco. In the hill country, most reliably found at Hondo Creek in Medina Co. west of San Antonio. Larvae feed on Anisacanthus wrightii.
White-rayed Patch (Chlosyne ehrenbergii) There is one specimen of this species from "Texas" in the British Museum with no further data. The caterpillar food plant is Rio Grande butterflybush - Buddleja sessiliflora. The White-rayed Patch is endemic to Mexico but not common in Northeastern Mexico.
Rosita Patch (Chlosyne rosita) Stray to the Rio Grande. One stray to the Lubbock area!
Red-spotted Patch (Chlosyne marina) New County Record found at Bentsen RGV WBC on 11/09/06. Rare stray to south Texas. Some 25 specimens were either collected or observed in various Starr Co. locations in October of 1973, 1974 and 1976. Two specimens from Starr Co. were deposited in the British Museum where the identifications were confirmed. Chlosyne melitaeoides was lumped under C. marina by Scott (1986) though he didn't give a justification.
Elf (Microtia elva) Five or fewer Cameron County records. Not recorded elsewhere in Texas.
Tiny Checkerspot (Dymasia dymas) Another recent find at Loma Alta northeast of Brownsville.
Elada Checkerspot (Texola elada) Jaguarundi Trail at Santa Ana NWR is one of the most dependable locations for finding this species. Also search the Valley Nature Center in Weslaco.
Texan Crescent (Phyciodes texana) Common throughout South Texas. Often along forested trails.
Pale-banded Crescent (Phyciodes tulcis) Though often absent, this species is sometimes encountered in numbers. Twelve were recorded on the 4th of July 2000 count at the old headquarters area of Santa Ana NWR.
Chestnut Crescent (Phyciodes argentea) First US Record from 1.6 mi south of Penitas on November 14, 1993. There's an earlier literature record from Relampago, Hidalgo Co. on March 19, 1970. The males are distinctive, but the females resemble the Texas Crescent.
Vesta Crescent (Phyciodes vesta) Best sought at the Valley Nature Center in Weslaco or along the Jaguarundi Trail at Santa Ana NWR.
Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon) Fairly common in gardens particularly at the Valley Nature Center.
Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) Fairly common in gardens particularly at the Valley Nature Center.
Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis) Uncommon. Likes woodlands and will come to bait. Look for silvery comma and adjacent dot which interestingly does from a "question mark" on hindwing underside (wings closed position)s.
Black-bordered Tegosa (Tegosa anieta) This species can be quite common in southern Tamaulipas, Mexico.
Square-tipped Crescent (Eresia phillyra) Present in northern Nuevo Leon, no U.S. records.
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) Widespread and common year-round. Very similar to Painted Lady.
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) Widespread and common year-round especially in the Fall. Very similar to American Lady. This is the most widespread butterfly in the world.
West Coast Lady (Vanessa annabella) This western species appears to be expanding its range eastward. Dale Clark and John and Gloria Tveten recently found individuals of this species in Hidalgo and Cameron Counties. Now Barbara Ribble photographed this one in western Medina Co. immediately west of Bexar Co. (San Antonio).
Red Admiral (Phyciodes tharos) Common and widespread. Very reliable in the Fall and will readily come to bait.
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) Photo of larvae shown.
Tropical Buckeye (Junonia genoveva) Mostly found along the coast.
White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae) Frequents gardens. Freshly emerged White Peacocks are a beauty to behold! Wide spread in the Rio Grande Valley.
Banded Peacock (Anartia fatima) Occasionally found in small numbers along the Rio Grande in Starr County. Very rare stray northward.
Malachite (Siproeta stelenes) This gorgeous large green butterfly prefers the moist woodlands along the Rio Grande, but wanders widely and thus singletons are apt to show up anywhere. Often found feeding on fermenting fruit, even Anacua berries may attract this butterfly. One recent October canoe trip along the southern border of Santa Ana produced 23 Malachites!
Rusty-tipped Page (Siproeta epaphus) This photograph is a New Texas Record, Second U.S. Record. It was shot south of Alamo, Hidalgo Co., TX on November 27, 2001 by Judy Quintanilla.
Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis arizonensis) This species was validated for our area by a single recent record from Starr Co. The nearest populations of Red-spotted Purples normally occur on the Edwards Plateau, west Texas and northern Mexico.
California Sister (Adelpha bredowii) While this oak feeding species is common both to the north and south of the RGV, this photo represents possibly the first RGV record.
Band-celled Sister (Adelpha fessonia) Occasional. One U.S. record north of the RGV at Chock Canyon State Park near Three Rivers, TX.
Common Banner (Epiphile adrasta) Rare stray recently seen in Willacy County during the 1998 Texas Butterfly Festival. No US records north of the Rio Grande Valley.
Orange Banner (Temenis laothoe) New U.S. Record! November 28, 2004 at Penitas, Hidalgo Co.
Mexican Bluewing (Myscelia ethusa) This species should be looked for in any forested area across the Valley. Trails that are sufficiently dense often yield half dozen sightings of this beauty. Unfortunately they tend to perch just out of camera range, with their wings closed!!!
Dingy Purplewing (Eunica monima) Rare. Some times found in small numbers when encountered. Numerous Texas records in 2002.
Florida Purplewing (Eunica tatila) Stray to the Rio Grande. Less common than the preceding species. Perhaps only two RGV records since 1996, both in Hidalgo Co. One Odessa record!
Blue-eyed Sailor (Dynamine dyonis) Apparent population at Santa Ana NWR in October 2003. Several individuals were seen on Owl Trail in the southern portion of the refuge. One individual was seen at the refuge on Jaguarundi Trail on a Christmas Bird Count in the late 1990's. All U.S. records are from Texas. There are some 19 county records for this species between the Red River and the Rio Grande. This is a good example of an occasional species, "probably not present every year, but occasionally present in moderate numbers."
Four-spotted Sailor (Dynamine postverta) New U.S. Record! Male and female found in Mission December 2005.
Anna's Eighty-eight (Diaethria anna) There have been mostly sight records of probably several species of Diaethria from West Texas to South Texas and even one in Central Texas.
Navy Eighty-eight (Diaethria astala) This is probably the most likely species of Diaethria to occur in South Texas.
Common Mestra (Mestra amymone) Fresh individuals really stand out with their dark forewing borders and orange hindwing patches. This species is found in a wide variety of habitats including woodlands. This species has strayed as far north as South Dakota!
Red Rim (Biblis hyperia) Rare along the Rio Grande. Usually seen as a fly-by in wooded areas such as the south end of Jaguarundi Trail at Santa Ana. Strays to central Texas and the Trans-Pecos.
Gray Cracker (Hamadryas februa) Rare. A couple of strays north of the Rio Grande.
Guatemalan Cracker (Hamadryas guatemalena) Numerous RGV records of this species recorded in the fall of 2003. Prior to that, there were only about five U.S. records for Guatemalan Cracker, all from Starr, Hidalgo or Cameron Counties.
Red Cracker (Hamadryas amphinome) Less than five US records for Red Cracker, all from Cameron and Hidalgo Counties.
Orion Cecropian (Historis odius) This large fast flying butterfly was recently sighted in western Cameron Co. according to Bordelon & Knudson. May also occur as a stray to southern Florida.
Blomfild's Beauty (Smyrna blomfildia) Rare. Most records are taken at bait. A few strays north of the Rio Grande, mostly along the coast.
Karwinski's Beauty (Smyrna karwinskii) Reported by Holland and Klots from Brownsville, but no authenticated U.S. records are known.
Many-banded Daggerwing (Marpesia chiron) Rare along the Rio Grande. Has strayed to Kansas.
Ruddy Daggerwing (Marpesia petreus) Occurs annually along the Rio Grande between July and November. Has strayed to Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska!
Tropical Leafwing (Anaea troglodyta) Common in woodlands across the Valley. Notice the two dark bands in the hindwing. Goatweed Leafwings generally only have one band.
Goatweed Leafwing (Anaea andria) Rare along the Rio Grande, but common in northern Hidalgo Co. and northward.
Pale-spotted Leafwing (Anaea pithyusa) Rare stray. No US records north of the Valley. Recently found in the hillside woods immediately upstream from the International bridge in Roma, Starr Co.Angled Leafwing (Anaea glycerium) Rare stray. Upperside orange. Tip of forewing is pointed; outer margin is irregular and indented. Hindwing is concave between vein ends. Found at Bentsen-RGV State Park, Mission, TX in January 2006.
Pointed Leafwing (Anaea eurypyle)
Red-and-black Leafwing (Siderone galanthis) Rare in Tamaulipas, probably less than five records. A low to mid-elevation habitat generalist best found at bait or hilltopping. Caterpillars feed on members of the Flacourtia Family (Flacourtiaceae). Texas has only one member of this family, Brush-Holly (Xylosma flexuosa).
Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis) Uncommon. Dependable at Bentsen-RGV State Park. Look for "hacked" forewing cell bar.ark on
Empress Leilia (Asterocampa leilia) This southwestern species is commonly found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. Sometimes likes to perch on the ground.
Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton) Abundant amongst the Hackberry Trees at Bentsen State Park and National Butterfly Center. Emperors commonly feed on sap.
'Cream-banded' Dusky Emperor (Asterocampa idyja argus) This species is present in Tamaulipas but the only U.S. records are recent October strays to southeastern Arizona.
Pavon Emperor (Doxocopa pavon) Rare stray. Not recorded north of the Rio Grande Valley.
Silver Emperor (Doxocopa laure) Stray to the Rio Grande. Not recorded elsewhere in Texas. Note that the white bands dont touch the costal margin.
Owls (Subfamily Brassolinae)
Owlet (Opsiphanes sp.) One stray Owlet collected in Pharr.
Gemmed Satyr (Cyllopsis gemma) The Gemmed and the Carolina Satyr are our only two Satyrs. The Carolina Satyr is generally the more abundant of the two.
Carolina Satyr (Hermeuptychia sosybius)
Klug's Clearwing (Dircenna klugii) Last U.S. records from Brownsville in 1904!
Dark form Queen caterpillar - Possibly the first Texas record.
Soldier (Danaus eresimus) Frequently encountered in Hidalgo and Starr Counties, look for Soldiers amongst the Queens. They are fairly easily distinguished from their more common sister species by the "smudged" black and white markings of the hindwing undersides. Variable from light to darkly patterned as seen here.
Tiger Mimic-Queen (Lycorea cleobaea) Recorded for Hidalgo Co. plus Bee Co. north of Corpus Christi. Another stray record from Kansas. Recorded from south Florida as well.
Skippers (Family Hesperiidae)
Dull Firetip (Pyrrhopyge araxes) Can be common in Monterrey, e.g. Chipinque. U.S. records occur only in west Texas, New Mexico and in southeastern Arizona.
Guava Skipper (Phocides polybius) This species is nearly everyone's favorite. The adult often makes long stops at flowers allowing for excellent photographs to be taken. Search the gardens at Sabal Palms, the Valley Nature Center, Santa Ana and Bentsen State Park. Look for caterpillars rolled up between Guava leaves. No strays recorded north of the Valley.
Mercurial Skipper (Proteides mercurius) Rare. Only recorded from Hidalgo and Cameron Counties along the Rio Grande, but has strayed to Kerr and Bexar Counties in Central Texas.
Beautiful Beamer (Phocides belus) This photograph is a FIRST U.S. RECORD!!! Shot on April 13, 2003 at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Hidalgo Co., TX by David Hanson.
Jade Beamer (Phocides urania) This species is common in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Captain John Pope collected a specimen of this species while conducting the Mexican Boundary Survey in the early 1850's. The specimen was sent to Dr. Samuel Hubbard Scudder who mistakenly described it as a new species using the specific epithet of texana. Some doubt has been cast on this record as it has not been repeated in 150 years (plus a second species of skipper was reportedly collected by Capt. Pope during the Mexican Boundary Survey that hasn't been recorded north of Guatemala).
Broken Silverdrop (Epargyreus exadeus) Rare stray. Only recorded from Hidalgo County in Texas.
undetermined Silverdrop sp. (Epargyreus sp., nr aspina) Species-level identification is not possible from this photo.
Hammock Skipper (Polygonus leo) Rare stray to south Texas and occasionally up to central Texas. Populations in south Florida and in the southwest.
White-striped Longtail (Chioides catillus) Commonly found in South Texas butterfly gardens. Recently, high populations were observed along the Upper Texas Coast. Has longer tails than other long tailed skippers.
Zilpa Longtail (Chioides zilpa) Rare along the Rio Grande. Strays to Central Texas. A thing of beauty...
Gold-spotted Aguna (Aguna asander) Occasional
Emerald Aguna (Aguna claxon) Less than five U.S. records, all from Hidalgo Co., TX
Tailed Aguna (Aguna metophis) Seen annually in RGV since 2002...
Eight-spotted Longtail (Polythrix octomaculata) Rare stray, only U.S. records from Hidalgo Co. and Cochise Co. in southeastern Arizona. Last seen at Santa Ana NWR in the early 1980's.
White-crescent Longtail (Codatractus alcaeus) Less than five records for Codatractus alcaeus from Hidalgo and Cameron counties. C. alcaeus also recorded from Jeff Davis Co. in the Trans-Pecos.
Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus) Common. Frequents gardens.
Turquoise Longtail (Urbanus evona) - New U.S. Record!
Dorantes Longtail (Urbanus dorantes) Uncommon. Frequents gardens.
Teleus Longtail (Urbanus teleus) Uncommon. Probably over reported as female Brown Longtails have a forewing median band suggestive of Teleus Longtail. No U.S. records north of the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
Brown Longtail (Urbanus procne) Fairly common in gardens along the Rio Grande. Occasionally strays to the north.
White-tailed Longtail (Urbanus doryssus) Rare. All U.S. records in the Rio Grande Valley save one record in Dimmit Co, TX.
Two-barred Flasher (Astraptes fulgerator) Uncommon along the Rio Grande. A few strays to central Texas.
Gilbert's Flasher (Astraptes alector) Rare stray. Less than five U.S. records, all from Hidalgo County.
Frosted Flasher (Astraptes alardus) Rare stray. Less than five U.S. records, all from Hidalgo and Cameron Counties. First U.S. records from Hidalgo Co. in 1973.
Yellow-tipped Flasher (Astraptes anaphus) Rare stray. Only U.S. records from Hidalgo & Cameron Counties. Recorded a total of four times between 1972 & 1974 at Bentsen-RGV State Park and in McAllen.
Golden Banded-Skipper (Autochton cellus) Present in Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and in the US west of the Pecos, but no South Texas records yet.
Chisos Banded-Skipper (Autochton cincta) Present in Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon. Only US records from the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend NP.
Desert Cloudywing (Achalarus casica) Present in Sierra Picachos mountains about 50 miles from Rio Grande Valley.
Coyote Cloudywing (Achalarus toxeus) Uncommon. Widely recorded in south and central Texas.
Jalapus Cloudywing (Achalarus jalapus) Rare stray.
Potrillo Skipper (Cabares potrillo) Uncommon along the Rio Grande. A few strays to Bexar and Comal Counties in Central Texas. Numerous records during the 2003 Texas Butterfly Festival.
Common Scarlet-eye (Nascus phocus) Recently found in the mountains above Monterrey, NL, MX at Cola de Caballo.
Fritzgaertner's Flat (Celaenorrhinus fritzgaertneri) Very rare stray. This photo possibly represents forth Rio Grande Valley record. There's one Bexar Co. record as well as strays to Southeast Arizona.
Stallings' Flat (Celaenorrhinus stallingsi) Rare Stray. No US records north of the Rio Grande Valley.
Falcate Skipper (Spathilepia clonius) Rare along the Rio Grande. No US records further north.
Mimosa Skipper (Cogia calchas) Common in gardens and other open area of the Valley. Note the light apical area. No Texas strays north of the Rio Grande.
Acacia Skipper (Cogia hippalus) Much less common than the preceding species. The Acacia Skipper is differentiated from the Mimosa Skipper by the pale fringe on the hindwing margin and the bolder markings in the forewing.
Outis Skipper Cogia outis Rare in the Rio Grande Valley. Sighting on 7/24/10 in San Isidro, Starr County. (mating pair)
Starred Skipper (Arteurotia tractipennis) All US records from Hidalgo Co. First record from Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park September 1972. Second U.S. record from Frontera Audubon in November 2003. Larvae feed on Croton.
Glazed Pellicia (Pellicia arina) Uncommon. Frequents gardens and damp earth. All US records from Hidalgo Co.
White-haired Skipper (Noctuana lactifera bipuncta) This species hasn't been recorded from the US, though it can be found in Monterrey, N.L.
Mazans Scallopwing (Staphylus mazans) The black velvet appearance of the male of this species is most remarkable. Usually seen in low numbers. Widely recorded in south, central and southeast Texas.
Golden-headed Scallopwing (Staphylus ceos) Rare in the Rio Grande Valley. More common in the U.S. from the Trans-Pecos to Arizona.
Variegated Skipper (Gorgythion begga) Approximately five U.S. records, all from either Starr or Hidalgo counties (plus one Hill Country record). G. begga is extremely similar to G. vox, both species are present in northeastern Mexico.
Blue-Studded Skipper (Sostrata nordica) Less than five U.S. records, all from Hidalgo Co. First U.S. record from Hidalgo Co. in 1973.
Black-veined Mylon (Mylon menippus) Present in Monterrey, N.L., Mexico, no U.S. records.
Hoary Skipper (Carrhenes canescens) Rare along the Rio Grande. Only record further north from Comal Co. in central Texas.
Glassy-winged Skipper (Xenophanes tryxus) Rare stray, though its caterpillar food plant, Turk's-cap, is common. Most records from Cameron Co. Last RGV record in the mid-90's prior to the 2004 record from Santa Ana NWR.
Dusted Spurwing (Antigonus erosus) First US record October 2004 in Mission, Hidalgo Co., TX
Texas Powdered-Skipper (Systasea pulverulenta) This southwestern species is rare along the Rio Grande.
Sickle-winged Skipper (Eantis tamenund) This dark Skipper with its purple-blue iridescence was the most abundant species on the 1999 4th of July Butterfly Count at the Sabal Palm Grove! Its caterpillars feed on Colima, a native member of the Citrus family. It can be found Valley wide. This species comes in many shades with the females being paler. Most records are from Texas, but has strayed to Kansas.
Pale Sicklewing (Achlyodes pallida) New U.S. Record! First photographed by David Hanson north of Weslaco, October 23, 2003. Multiple records documented through November 2003 for Starr and Hidalgo Co.
Hermit Skipper (Grais stigmaticus) Rare in Texas, but has strayed to Kansas.
Brown-banded Skipper (Timochares ruptifasciatus) This occasional species has only been recorded along the Rio Grande in Texas. Found in gardens and other open areas. Hosts on Barbados Cherry/Manzanita.
Common Bluevent (Anastrus sempiternus) Twice recorded in late 2002 in Rio Grande City, Starr Co. Look for this species along the Chachalaca Nature Trail located at the western edge of Fort Ringgold, adjacent to the fire station.
White-patched Skipper (Chiomara asychis) This lovely gray mottled Skipper sports white patches in its hind wings. It is often found in gardens and other open areas. Has strayed to Kansas.
False Duskywing (Gesta invisa) Rare in Hidalgo and Cameron counties, more common up on the Edwards Plateau and in Northern Mexico.
Horace's Duskywing (Erynnis horatius) A rare stray (from the north), due to the lack of its larval food plant, Oak.
Mournful Duskywing (Erynnis tristis) Uncommon. Will frequent gardens and likes lantana and duranta.
Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis) Common. Widespread. Appearance very similar to mournful duskywing.
White or Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus albescens/communis) These two species are indistinguishable in the field and while both have been recorded along the Rio Grande, White Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus albescens) is the much more common of the two.
Tropical Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus oileus) Common. Frequents gardens.
Laviana White-Skipper (Heliopetes laviana) Common South Texas species. Frequents gardens. Breeds as far north as Austin. Formerly common in Dallas, but now rare there.
Turk's-cap White-Skipper (Heliopetes macaira) Uncommon. Likes woodland edges.
Erichson's White Skipper (Heliopetes domicella) Rare. Texas records restricted to along the lower Rio Grande and to the Trans-Pecos. Other records in the Southwestern U.S. Numerous individuals recorded during the 2003 Texas Butterfly Festival.
East-Mexican White-Skipper (Heliopetes sublinea) First U.S. record photographed at Santa Ana NWR in October of 2004!
Veined White-Skipper (Heliopetes arsalte) Rare stray from Mexico.
Common Streaky-Skipper (Celotes nessus) This species ranges widely through the Southwest, but is rare along the Rio Grande.
Common Sootywing (Pholisora catullus) Uncommon.
Grass Skippers (Subfamily Hesperiinae)
Malicious Skipper (Synapte malitiosa pecta) Formerly more common. Only a few records reported in the last two years. All U.S. records from the lower Rio Grande Valley.
Pale-rayed Skipper (Vidius perigenes) Rare along the Rio Grande. Most common in Cameron Co. No US records further north. Several recent sighting at Laguna Atascosa NWR near Rio Hondo, Texas.
Julia's Skipper (Nastra julia) Occasional
Violet-patched Skipper (Monca crispinus) Historically common in wet years. Rare lately, though one was found at the Valley Nature Center in November of 2003. One record north of the Valley.
Fawn-spotted Skipper (Cymaenes odilia) Flies mostly in the a.m. before the day heats up. Appearance is similar to Clouded Skippers. Uncommon along the Rio Grande. One recent record further north.
Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius) Abundant South Texas skipper. Frequents gardens. Likes to bask in the early morning sun.
Liris Skipper (Lerema liris) Less than 10 U.S. records for this species, all but one were recorded in either Starr or Hidalgo Counties. Males lack most of the markings seen on the underside of the female shown here.
Fantastic Skipper (Vettius fantasos) Second U.S. Record. First recorded from Penitas, Hidalgo Co. in 1975. This species is regularly recorded in both Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon.
Green-backed Ruby-eye (Perichares philetes) Rare stray. Absent from the RGV since 1996 until October 2004 when one was seen in each of Texas three southmost counties. The first Cameron County record was recorded at that time in Los Ebanos Preserve
Osca Skipper (Rhinthon osca) Recorded from Hidalgo, Cameron and Victoria Counties. The most recent record was at the Sabal Palm Grove, Brownsville, Cameron Co. in October of 2003 during the Texas Butterfly Festival.
Double-dotted Skipper (Decinea percosius) Rare. Only US records from Rio Grande Valley. Check the Eupatoriums along the Resaca Trail at the Sabal Palm Audubon Sanctuary.
Southern Skipperling (Copaeodes minima) This skipper is common throughout south Texas.
Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus) Abundant South Texas skipper. Frequents gardens. One of the three wizards.
Whirlabout (Polites vibex) Abundant. Frequents gardens. This butterfly is a conundrum. Even experienced butterfliers are often daunted by the variablitiy of this butterfly. One of the three butterflies also referred to as wizards.
Southern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia otho) Common South Texas skipper. Frequents gardens.
Common Glassywing (Pompeius pompeius) Present around Monterrey, NL, Mexico. Note similar pattern to female Whirlabout.
Sachem (Atalopedes campestris) Abundant. Frequents gardens. One of the three butterflies referred to as wizards.
Common Mellana (Quasimellana eulogius) Occasional. All US records from along lower Rio Grande.
Nysa Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes nysa) Uncommon.
Celia's Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes celia) Uncommon South Texas skipper.
Bronze Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes aenus) Flies in the Sierra Picachos...50 miles from the Rio Grande Valley.
Eufala Skipper (Lerodea eufala) Uncommon South Texas skipper. Frequents gardens.
Olive-clouded Skipper (Lerodea dysaules/arabus) Stray along the Rio Grande. No US records north of the Valley.
Brazilian Skipper (Calpodes ethlius) A large skipper whose larvae feed on the leaves of canna lilies.
Obscure Skipper (Panoquina panoquinoides) Common along the Gulf coast.
Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)Common and widespread. Has distinctive and long forewing. Fresh individuals may have purple sheen.
Hecebolus Skipper (Panoquina hecebola) Rare. Similar to ocola and purple-washed skippers. Look for flat spot in cell on upperside.
Purple-washed Skipper (Panoquina sylvicola) Uncommon along the Rio Grande in the Fall. Resembles Ocola. Often with tiny white spots on hindwing below.
Evans' Skipper (Panoquina evansi) Rare stray. Annual Rio Grande Valley records since 1999. No US records north of the RGV. First described by H.A. Freeman in 1946 from a specimen he collected in Pharr, Hidalgo Co., TX.
Violet-banded Skipper (Nyctelius nyctelius) This little gem of a Skipper sports a distinctive black spot on the leading edge of its hindwing. Has been reported regularly from the gardens of the Valley Nature Center and Santa Ana NWR. Only those butterfliers that wade through the ubiquitous Sachems, Whirlabouts and Fiery Skippers will be rewarded with this find. Few strays to the north.
Common Therra (Vacerra bonfilius aeas) - An uncommon to rare skipper in northeast Mexico. No U.S. records.
Yucca Giant-Skipper (Megathymus yuccae)
Tequila Giant-Skipper (Aegiale hesperiaris) Present in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, but not recorded for the U.S.
Manfreda Giant-Skipper (Stallingsia maculosa) One of the rarest butterflies endemic to Texas. Shown here are photos of the caterpillar food plant: Manfreda maculosa (Family Agavaceae)
Compiled primarily by Mike Quinn, TPWD Inverterate Biologist