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Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta)

Description: A small to medium sized orange and brown butterfly. Above the wings are dark orange with dark brown patterning and margins, below the forewing is lighter orange with dark brown patches and the hindwing is light orange with darker orange lines and darker dull brown patch along the hind margin with a silvery crescent. The antennal club is orange, an important feature for separating it from other similar crescent species, particularly the Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) which is known from Maine but not the Maritimes. Northern Crescent can be distinguished by its black and white antennal tips and more completely marked upperside. Wingspan: 25 to 35 mm.

Maritime Distribution: Throughout Maritimes. For Atlas results click here.

Provincial Ranks: NB: S5. NS: S5. PEI: S5.

Flight Period: Late May to late August. Those in August are likely from a small second generation.

Host Plant: Various asters (Symphyotrichum spp.).

Notes: Northern Crescent is found in a wide variety of open habitats. It is one of our most common species.

In Ontario, Pearl Crescent has three generations, the first in May (before Northern Crescent), the second, and largest, in late July and early August (after most first generation Northern Crescents have disappeared), and a third in late September. Particular attention should be given to crescents when it is likely Pearl Crescent could be on the wing.