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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Desert Hackberry Emperor
Asterocampa leilia  EDWARDS, 1874
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - APATURINAE
Asterocampa leilia Arizona, USA Tony Hoare
Introduction
There are 4 Asterocampa species. Three of these i.e. celtis, leilia and clyton are all found in central America and the southern states of the USA. They are all similar in appearance, being marked with dark brown and white on a tawny background, and having a series of black ocelli on the hindwings. The fourth species idyja is found from Mexico to Puerto Rico and also on Cuba and Hispaniola. It is unlike the others, being mostly brown but with a broad creamy diagonal bar across the forewings, and a black apex with a pair of white subapical spots.
Asterocampa leilia is found from the southern USA to Mexico.
Habitats
The butterfly breeds in valleys and canyons where the foodplants grown along the edges of streams and rivers. It can be found at altitudes between sea level and about 800m.
Lifecycle
The eggs are laid in batches of a dozen on the upper surface of leaves of Celtis ( Ulmaceae ). When newly hatched the larvae are yellowish-green with shiny black heads. At first they feed gregariously but they become solitary in later instars. The fully grown caterpillar is pale leaf green with a pair of yellowish dorsal stripes. Its skin is rough in texture and it possesses a pair of forward-pointing horns on the head. The pupa is green and is suspended by the cremaster from a stem or leaf.
Adult behaviour

Males imbibe mineralised moisture from the ground, and often aggregate to feed at sap runs, or at decomposing fruit on the forest floor. Females nectar at flowers including Eupatorium.

 

 

 

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