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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Small Wood Nymph
Cercyonis oetus phocus  EDWARDS, 1874
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe - SATYRINI
subtribe -
Cercyonis oetus phocus Radium Hot Springs, British Colombia, Canada Martin Gascoigne-Pees
Introduction
The genus Cercyonis comprises of 6 species, all of which are found only in North America.
The uppersides of Cercyonis males are typically dark brown and most species have a pair of very conspicuous and widely spaced ocelli set within a band of orange on the outer half of the forewings. Most species have between 1 to 3 smaller ocelli on the upperside hindwings. Females are generally similar but their ocelli are set within pale yellowish bands. In a few species including oetus the ocelli on the uppersides of both sexes are small, and set against a plain earthy brown ground colour. In all species the ocelli are more prominent on the underside.
Cercyonis oetus is found in the western states of the USA and in the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta in Canada. The illustrated subspecies phocus is endemic to British Columbia.
Habitats
Despite its common name oetus and other Cercyonis species are found in open habitats. including chaparral, sagebrush and alpine meadows. In British Colombia the butterfly is associated with open grassy areas bordering coniferous woodland in the Rocky Mountains.
Lifecycle
The egg is lemon yellow mottled with brown. It is laid singly. The newly hatched caterpillar feeds on its egg shell and then immediately enters hibernation. It awakens in the spring, and then feeds on various grasses. The fully grown larva is pale green with a series of fine dark green, yellowish and white lateral and dorsal stripes. It has a green head and a pair of reddish caudal prongs.
Adult behaviour

Males imbibe mineralised moisture from damp tracks. Both sexes nectar at a wide range of plants, favouring the yellow flowers of Senecio and Hypericum.

 

 

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