Phyciodes mylitta mylitta

Phyciodes mylitta mylitta

Photo Life History: Phyciodes mylitta mylitta

Habitat:  Mountain Canyons; Agricultural Areas; Valley Wet Meadows;

Host Plants:  Cirsium vulgare; Cirsium arvanse

Suitable Lab Host Plants: Onopordum acanthium

How to Find Female Butterflies:  Click here.

Caring for Live Female Butterflies:  Nectaring techniques

Methods of Female Oviposition:   Portable Cages; Potted Plant Sleeves

How to Find Eggs:  Look on Lower Half of Plant; Isolated Host Plants.

How to Hatch Eggs:  Consolidate eggs into one container.

How to Find Caterpillars in the Field: Look for Caterpillar Strip Patterns.  Caterpillars feed gregariously and can create very noticeable strip patterns on the host plant. 

How to Find Pupae in the Field: 

Caterpillar setups:  Open terrariums; Open Bucket;

Larva to Pupa:  Caterpillar silks to leaf or twig; creates and attaches cremaster; hanging as a J before pupating.

Number of Broods per Year:  2-3

Overwintering Stage:  Third Instar Larva

Overwintering Strategies: Your Own Backyard; Alpine Overwintering Technique

Post-Hibernation Strategies: Provide third instar caterpillars with warmer temperatures, and healthy host plant;  Larvae will then initiate feeding and finish through in a couple of weeks.

Avoiding Diapause Techniques:  Not too difficult with most species of PhyciodesExpose larvae to 24 hours of light and healthy host plant.

Disease Prevention:  Change out host plant and remove frass every four to five days in an open bucket or open terrarium setup. 

Emergence:  Emergence Container

Field Notes:  Even though caterpillars can be found on thistles in mountain canyons and agricultural areas, the most productive method to rear thistle crescents is to get eggs out of females.