|scientific name Phyciodes cocyta |
common name Northern Crescent
Ubiquitous throughout most ecoregions in Alberta, particularly forest clearings and parklands.
The single brood flies in June, possibly a second brood in August - September.
The crescents form a complex group of poorly understood species, partly as a result of the fact that they are often very similar in appearance. Extensive genetic research by Wahlberg et al. (2003) has not clarified the species relationships.
The northern and Pearl Crescent (P. tharos) can be difficult to tell apart, and these were treated as the same species in most of the older literature. Male Northern Crescents have a more solid orange upperside, while tharos has more extensive upperside black markings (the black line through the forewing median is continuous, not broken).The hindwing margin is mostly solid black in cocyta, but has a line of pale yellow crescents in tharos. The Tawny Crescent (P. batesii) has more upperside black markings than cocyta so is similar to tharos in this respect, but the tip of the antennal club is black and white, not not black, white and orange. This character is not reliable for separating females of these species. Female crescents in general have more black markings on the upperside and paler orange spots in addition to the orange ground colour; and are best identified by association with males from the same population.
This is our most common crescent, and it can be found in almost any habitat where asters, the larval fooplant, grows. Prefers slightly moister conditions than the Pearly Crescent, which is very similar.
Not of concern.
The larval hosts are not known in Alberta. Elsewhere, Aster laevis (Colorado) and A. simplex (Minnesota, Manitoba) are hosts (Scott 1994, Klassen et al. 1989).
A boreal-transcontinental species, found from the Yukon to Newfoundland south to New Mexico (along the Rockies) and south along the Appalachian Mountains (Scott 1986).
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