New Jersey Butterflies

Pearl Crescent

Phyciodes tharos

Identification: Very small—1.3". Above: FW and HW orange with black netlike pattern (more pronounced in the female), dark margins, and a row of submarginal dots on the HW. Band across mid-FW may be yellowish in the female. Below: FW and HW orange-yellow with dark patches. Markings variable (see photos). Both sexes have a pearly, crescent-shaped mark usually set into a darkish patch along the HW margin.

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. Common and widespread throughout.

NJ Range Map-Pearl Crescent

Habitat: Open, sunny, upland fields and meadows. Attracted to gardens with orange, yellow, and white flowers. Often seen near wet ground especially just after emergence.

Flight Period: Usually three broods, flying early April into June, late June into mid-August, and late August into November. Extreme dates: North Jersey 3/26—11/15; South Jersey 3/19—11/21.

Larval Food Plants: Asters (Symphyotrichum, formerly Aster).

Overwintering Stage: Larva.

Best Locations: Just about everywhere.

Comments: Shortly after emergence, Pearl Crescents sometimes congregate in large numbers near puddles. Within a day or two, however, most disperse into fields to nectar and mate.

Pearl Crescent

Male, Kittatinny Valley SP, Sussex Co., NJ, 6/30/06.

Pearl Crescent

Female, Delaware Water Gap NRA, Sussex Co., NJ, 7/12/08.

Pearl Crescent

Female, Kittatinny Valley SP, Sussex Co., NJ, 7/27/11, on Black-eyed Susan.

Pearl Crescent

Male, Fredon Twp., Sussex Co., NJ, 7/21/08, on Oxeye.

Pearl Crescent

Male & Female, Upper Delaware River, Sussex Co., NJ, 8/1/07.