Common Names in English:
Little Wood Satyr, Little Wood-Satyr
'The Nymphalidae are members
of the Superfamily
Papilionoidea, the true butterflies. Distributed worldwide, butterflies of this family
are especially rich in the tropics. They are highly variable, and there are more species in this family than in any other. Adults
vary in size from small to large, and their front legs
are reduced, unable to be used for walking. Wing
is also highly variable: some species have irregular margins
(anglewings and commas), and others have long taillike projections (daggerwings). Browns, oranges, yellows, and blacks are frequent colors, while iridescent
colors such as purples and blues are rare. Adults of some groups are the longest-lived butterflies, surviving 6-11 months. Adult feeding behavior depends on the species, where some groups primarily seek flower nectar while others only feed
, rotting fruit, dung, or animal carcasses. Males exhibit
behaviors when seeking mates. Egg-laying
varies widely, as some species lay eggs
in clustsers, others in columns, and others singly. Caterpillar appearance
and behavior vary widely. Brushfoots overwinter
as larvae or adults.
The Satyrinae are medium-sized species of the Family Nymphalidae. Members of this worldwide group are most often brown with one or more marginal eyespots. Males often have visible patches of specialized scales on the fore- or hindwings . Adults have short proboscises and rarely visit flowers, feeding instead on rotting fruit, animal droppings, or sap flows . Nearly all species feed on grasses and grasslike plants , including bamboos , rushes, and sedges. Adults usually perch with their wings closed , but open them wide when basking early in the morning or during cloudy weather. Most species have local colonies and are not migratory. Males patrol when searching for mates, flying in characteristic slow, skipping flight. Eggs are laid singly on the host leaves or stems, and caterpillars feed within shelters of several leaves sewn together with silk . Development from egg to adult can take two years in arctic and alpine species, and it is synchronized in some species. In those species, adult butterflies are only found every other year. Satyrinae typically overwinter as partially grown caterpillars.
Species Megisto cymela
, both above and below, has two prominent
and two pupils. Smaller eyespots may be clustered around
large one. No other small satyr has eyespots in pairs above and below.
Light brown. Forewing has 2 yellow-rimmed black eyespots both above and below. Hindwing has 2 eyespots on upper side; but may have smaller spots below. (ref. 106053)
Light brown. Forewing has 2 yellow-rimmed black eyespots both above and below. Hindwing has 2 eyespots on upper side; but may have smaller spots below.
Wing span : 1 1/2 - 1 7/8 inches (3.8 - 4.8 cm).
and openings, old fields
; especially in limey or basic
soils. Deciduous woods and forest
clearings, meadows and fields,
pine woods, salt bays
This satyr is typically found along woodland borders or very open woods. It also occurs in old fields, clearcuts, upland "glades", powerline clearings, and other woodland openings. It favors upland sites as opposed to wetlands; it also appears to be more common over circumneutral soils in NC, a trait noted by Opler and others. (ref. 104704)
Caterpillar hosts: Orchard grass
(Dactylis glomerata) and centipede
grass (Eremochloa ophiuroides). Adult
, aphid honeydew,
and rarely flower nectar. Little Wood
Satyrs do not frequent flowers
in search of nectar as do most other butterflies; adults rarely feed
at all, taking only water at puddles or sap as is shown here.
The foodplants are grasses, probably those of old fields and edges . As with other satyrs, adults seldom nectar, but feed on carrion , decaying fruit, sap, and moisture. (ref. 104704)
Life cycle: Eggs
green. Caterpillar is brown with tiny white
on grasses and possibly sedges; larvae overwinter
In the early morning and late afternoon, Little Wood Satyrs bask with their wings open while perched on tree leaves or on leaf litter . Adults have a slow bouncing flight and will rise as far as the tops of tall trees. Males patrol in the shade to find females. Eggs are laid singly on grass blades . Fourth-stage caterpillars hibernate.
One brood from June-July in the north; two to three broods from March-September in the south. (ref. 106053)
Flight: One brood from June-July in the north; two to three broods
from March-September in the south.
The Little Wood Satyr is a very adaptable butterfly. It requires only some woods, grass and moisture to thrive; it is a prodigious reproducer and can become extremely abundant under the right conditions. The Little Wood Satyr is equally at home flitting from tree trunk to tree trunk, many times in a group of butterflies that seem to be playing tag , and expertly negotiating tall grass and thick underbrush with its dancing, seemingly slow-motion flight. They fly on cloudy days, unlike many butterflies, and they tolerate deep shade as well. There is some controversy regarding taxonomy of this species; it is thought there are two nearly identical species operating simultaneously in many locales.
Flight period: Seemingly one long flight period, but a small brood may be present in late summer. Present from mid-April to very early September, very rarely in October; the great majority of records are from mid-May to late July. However, peak counts are in the early part of the flight period, in late May and early June. (ref. 104704)
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Grobben, 1908
- A.M.A. Aguinaldo et al., 1997 ex T. Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Latreille, 1829
- Snodgrass, 1938
- Heymons, 1901
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- Butterflies and Moths
- Infraorder: Heteroneura ()
- Order: Lepidoptera () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - Butterflies and Moths
- Superorder: Panorpida ()
- Cohort: Myoglossata ()
- Infraclass: Pterygota ()
- Subclass: Dicondylia ()
- Class: Insecta () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - Insects
- Epiclass: Hexapoda ()
- Superclass: Panhexapoda ()
- Infraphylum: Atelocerata () - Heymons, 1901
- Subphylum: Mandibulata () - Snodgrass, 1938
- Phylum: Arthropoda () - Latreille, 1829 - Arthropods
- Superphylum: Panarthropoda () - Cuvier
- Infrakingdom: Ecdysozoa () - A.M.A. Aguinaldo et al., 1997 ex T. Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Branch: Protostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Subkingdom: Bilateria () - (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Kingdom: Animalia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
These butterflies are fun to watch when gamboling about amidst a stand of trees ; it really looks as if they are having fun, which is no doubt how they got their name ; satyrs of Greek and Roman mythology are best known for their fondness for dancing and revelry.
Members of the genus Megisto
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 5 species and subspecies in this genus:
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- Entomological news. [Philadelphia]American Entomological Society, 1925- url p. 159, p. 161, p. 213.
- Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Science. Lexington, KY: The Academy, 1998- url p. 184, p. 87, p. 87.
- Memoirs of the American Entomological Society. Philadelphia, American Entomological Society, 1916- url p. 147, p. 87, p. 91.
- Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. Washington, etc.: Entomological Society of Washington url p. 80.
- The Entomologist's record and journal of variation. s.l., s.n. url p. 282.
- Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-present. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. Accessed January 10, 2012.
Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 12, 2007:
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Donald F. Hooper Butterfly collection, Canada
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Gerald Hilchie Collection
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Lyman Entomological Museum
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, McMaster University Collection
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, New Brunswick Museum Collection
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Northern Forestry Centre Arthropod Collection, Edmonton
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, Halifax, NS, Canada
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Point Pelee National Park Collection, Canada
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Provincial Museum of Alberta
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Ross A. Layberry Observations
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Royal British Columbia Museum Entomology Collection
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Royal Ontario Museum: Entomology
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, Spencer Entomological Museum
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, University of Guelph, Department of Environmental Biology
- Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, University of Western Ontario Collection
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 2605375
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 13548591
- Natural Heritage Network Species Identifier: IILEPN4010
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 171942