The life cycle of hackberry emperor caterpillars begins with eggs laid on the underside of hackberry tree leaves. They must first climb back up their host tree to eat after they are done hibernating over winter. Celtis laevigata Up Close. Subscribe our email newsletter for future updates... © 2020 (Butterfly Identification). Typically, the specialized relationship of flowering plants and butterflies results in mutual benefit, in that the butterfly gains nutrients from flower visits while the host plant gains reproductive fitness from assistance in pollination. However, the hackberry emperor likely does not aid in pollination in any significant way. The hackberry tree is the only host plant for A. celtis and is the food source for larvae. [2] It gets its name from the hackberry tree (Celtis occidentalis and others in the genus Celtis) upon which it lays its eggs. [5], The hackberry emperor is found across a wide range within North America. At the rear end, a pair of sharp tail-like protrusions is found. Perchers typically spend only part of the day actively looking for a mate. Only the proboscis is used to touch parts of the flower, which suggests that the butterfly would be an ineffective pollinator. [4], Generalist species like birds and mammals, such as bears and raccoons, will eat larvae that lie along the forest floor. They stay hung on the underside of their host hackberry tree leaves during this stage and turn to adult butterflies during early summer. Hackberry Butterfly Side View. Required fields are marked *. Hackberry flower nectar, hackberry sap, feces, dead animals including decaying pigs, snakes, and dogs, and old fruit. Mourning Cloak, Question Mark, Hackberry Emperor, Comma, Snout, and Tawny Emperor butterflies host on this tree. [3][6], A. celtis usually lays eggs in clusters on the underside of hackberry leaves, although it has been observed to occasionally lay eggs on the top of a leaf. Hackberry Emperor Caterpillar cdn.butterflyatlas.org. Females deposit eggs in masses, and the larvae are gregarious when young, seemingly swarming on leaves in feeding groups. The stink bug is also a very common predator of hackberry emperor eggs. There are a few plausible evolutionary reasons for this behavior, but the exact cause for this species' behavior is contentious. Laying eggs in clusters results in higher fecundity for the female. Males perch head-down on tall objects in sunny, open locations waiting for females to approach. Possible explanations include higher fecundity that may be aided by aposematic coloration. [3][7], Pupae have a dark green color with white spots all around the body. The Hackberry Emperor is a species of North American butterfly that are often seen hopping around water bodies, swamps, and city parks/gardens. Asterocampa celtis, the hackberry emperor, is a North American butterfly that belongs to the brushfooted butterfly family, Nymphalidae. The hackberry emperor is known for being a quick, mercurial butterfly. Strangely, these butterflies are seen visiting flowers rarely, compared to most other butterfly species. [3], Species in the genus Asterocampa are regarded as being "cheater" organisms, since these butterflies do not pollinate flowers when they feed from them. One strategy is to actively patrol an area for females. [6], The larvae of A. celtis feed upon the leaves and leaf buds of hackberry trees. Males have smaller, darker bodies and more slender wings than females. Instead, they commonly eat hackberry sap, feces, dead animals including decaying pigs, snakes, and dogs, and old fruit. Larvae burrow underground in order to metamorphose into adults. They sit perched upon a branch waiting for a female to fly by. [3][7], Adults feed on a variety of food sources. A tachinid fly parasitoid, Chetogena edwardsii, is another common threat to the hackberry emperor. The other strategy is to perch. On the rare occasion that the butterfly visits flowers for feeding, it does not allow its feet or its antennae to touch the flower. Hackberry Butterfly Eggs. During winter, they move on to hibernation along the floor of the forest, only to re-emerge during spring and feed on the foliage of the hackberry leaves. At the rear, two sharp tails protrude outwards level with the abdomen. The larva’s body is approximately 1.4 inches in length with the head bearing brown-black horn-like dorsal projections. [7], A. celtis adults exhibit sexual dimorphism. Color and Appearance: Their appearance varies dramatically with latitudes. Hackberry trees (Celtis spp.) Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. When the wings are closed, the patterns look almost similar, except that the hues are much lighter. Asterocampa celtis, the hackberry emperor, is a North American butterfly that belongs to the brushfooted butterfly family, Nymphalidae. Photo shows summer new growth leaves. In the spring, they emerge again and climb back up the hackberry tree to eat the foliage. [4], As a member of the family Nymphalidae, the hackberry emperor oviposits its eggs in clutches, or clusters, upon hackberry leaves. This is where the hackberry butterfly, question mark, and snout butterlfy prefer to lay their eggs in Central Arizona. [8] They drink from water in puddles. Its caterpillars feed on the several species of hackberry trees/shrubs. Entire southeastern part of North America, Wooded roadsides and streams, towns, forest glades and edges of rivers. The entire body is a bright green having pale yellow bumps. Hackberry Emperor Butterfly Chrysalis lh3.ggpht.com. Hackberry Butterfly Caterpillar. When a male sees movement nearby it will quickly fly out to attempt to mate, but stay within a limited habitat. As hackberry trees grow, so grow hackberry emperors. Strangely, these butterflies are seen visiting flowers rarely, compared to most other butterfly species. This species can more accurately be described as parasitizing their hosts and plant food sources since they extract nutrients without providing any benefits to the host. Hackberry Butterfly Dorsal View. This is considered to be “cheater” behavior. White spots near the front of the wing help distinguish it from a similar butterfly, the Tawny Emperor. [3], Pupae are found on the underside of hackberry leaves and metamorphose into adults in the early summer. the Hackberry butterfly) is a classic example of what happens if you put all your eggs in one culinary basket. [3][6], Adult hackberry emperors lay two broods in a year. The species is not very deterred by human development. It gets its name from the hackberry tree (Celtis occidentalis and others in the genus Celtis) upon which it lays its eggs. [7], A. celtis visits flowers in an unusual way. Its range extends to the southwest into regions like Arizona, New Mexico, and other parts of the Rockies, as shown by the map. Hackberry is a host for six different species of butterflies. The pale eggs are laid in clusters of 5-20 eggs on the host plant. Both males and females are light brown with a row of black or white dots near the far edge of their wings. Your email address will not be published. There are also white lines going diagonally across the abdomen. The Hackberry Emperor is a species of North American butterfly that are often seen hopping around water bodies, swamps, and city parks/gardens. [6][10], Scelionid egg parasites antagonize many species of Asterocampa, including the hackberry emperor. Half-grown larvae hibernate over the winter in fallen hackberry leaves along the forest floor. [3][6], Asterocampa celtis lives wherever the hackberry tree lives. For A. celtis, laying eggs in clusters is its best strategy to produce the most offspring.[5][7]. The chrysalis has a dark green color at the base studded with white spots all over. While feeding the nectar from their only host, the hackberry, these butterflies often refrain from touching the flowers with their feet and antennae, but only use the proboscis. More specifically, the butterfly lives in cities, forests, and wooded areas, and especially prefers areas near rivers or other bodies of water. In Wisconsin, you’re most … Hackberry Butterfly Chrysalis Note how the chrysalis’ texture and coloration almost mirror the Hackberry’s leaf Hackberry Butterfly (Asterocampa Celtis) Host Plants Hackberry Tree (Celtis Occidentalis) Sugarberry Tree All rights reserved. The caterpillars have been known to eat so much at a time that they can completely defoliate a tree. Some factors influencing oviposition could be that laying eggs in a large cluster decreases the time and energy necessary for searching for new leaf sites, which decrease the risk of maternal death between oviposition events. Hackberry butterflies are known to land on humans to lick off sweat and gain sodium from it. [10], Male searching behavior in butterflies generally falls into two different strategies. Sexual Dimorphism: Not distinctly present. The hackberry tree is the only host plant for A. celtis and is the food source for larvae. The body is approximately 1.4" long. Hackberry is a US and Canada native. Soil – best in damp to wet but will grow in dry soil Not tolerant of … White lines also run diagonally across the abdomen. Also, they are known to land on humans to lick off their sweat to gain sodium. The male rests on rocks, trees, or fallen branches often along streams from the afternoon until around sundown. It can commonly be found throughout most of its distribution. It often is found along water sources and lowlands, although it lives in a broad range of habitats. This production of multiple generations within one year makes it such that all life stages may be present at one time within a single site or host tree. This habit suggests that these creatures are not an ineffective pollinator. [9] Eggs look white with a faint green-yellow hue. The head has brown-black colored dorsal horns. [11], A. celtis exhibit perching behavior. [12], CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, "NatureServe Explorer 2.0 Asterocampa celtis Hackberry Emperor", "hackberry emperor - Asterocampa celtis (Boisduval & Leconte)", "SIGNIFICANCE OF VISITS BY HACKBERRY BUTTERFLIES (NYMPHALIDAE: ASTEROCAMPA) TO FLOWERS", "Lepidoptera associated with pig carrion", "General Notes: INSECT PARASITES AND PREDATORS OF HACKBERRY BUTTERFLIES (NYMPHALIDAE: ASTEROCAMPA)", "Mate-locating behavior of western North American butterflies", "Hackberry Emperor Asterocampa celtis (Boisduval & Leconte, [1835]) | Butterflies and Moths of North America", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Asterocampa_celtis&oldid=989299188, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 18 November 2020, at 05:07. They seldom make visitations to flowers so nectar is not a primary food source. Another notable characteristic is that it rarely is spotted visiting a flower, which is considered unusual for a butterfly. When the wings are open, they display an overall tan to reddish brown hue with the forewings having a single submarginal eyespot, along with a row of jaggy white spots, while each of the cells has a black bar and a pair of black spots. The Hackberry Emperor (a.k.a. It has been observed as far south as central Mexico and north into parts of Eastern Canada. Period. [11], The hackberry emperor is not under serious threat. There are a variety of species of the hackberry line, and A. celtis is not found preferentially on any one kind of hackberry. Furthermore, the hackberry emperor may be seen near woodland edges, near creeks, around buildings, and around damp, muddy areas. Average wingspan: 1.38 – 2.48 inches (3.5 – 6.3 cm), White to gray in color, and are laid in clusters on the underside of hackberry leaves, Hackberry Emperor Images static1.squarespace.com, Hackberry Emperor Butterfly butterfliesandmoths.org, Your email address will not be published. It can commonly be found across the Midwest and especially along the east coast from Florida up to New England. The males of the species are smaller with darker bodies and slimmer wings. Patrollers are attracted to still objects that resemble a mate. and their butterflies are found over about two-thirds of the U.S. The body is a primarily green with whitish-yellow chalazae, or bumps.

hackberry butterfly eggs

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