Mexico, USA & Canada
Desert Hackberry Emperor
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - APATURINAE
© Tony Hoare
There are 4
Asterocampa species. Three of these
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.
is found from the southern USA to Mexico.
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.
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.
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