When we think of the orange butterfly of the Meadowlands, naturally we first consider butterfly royalty, the Monarch. However, there is another butterfly that exhibits the orange hue, this one much smaller in stature but no less splendid. Sometimes overlooked by summer butterfly lovers that visit the Meadowlands, It is the tiny yet regal Pearl Crescent butterfly, a butterfly that should not be overlooked.
This small to medium-sized butterfly (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inch wingspan) is overall orange with brown markings, but is highly variable depending on its geographical location. The Pearl Crescent prefers woodland edges, roadsides, and open fields, and can be found all over the Meadowlands region.
My favorite place to look for this delightful little butterfly is “Jill’s Garden” at DeKorte Park . Although the Pearl Crescent can be found nectaring on many different plants, they can usually can be seen on the yellow flowers of Coreopsis , Rudbeckia and Goldenrod , maybe because these great nectar sources also provide good camouflage.
Pearl Crescents have two broods. The first brood is found from early May through early July. A second brood is present in August through mid-September. And their host plant is the asters!
Pearl Crescent females will deposit their eggs on the leaves of many aster species including New England Asters, Calico Aster ,Whorled Aster, Smooth Aster ,Purple-stemmed Aster and more, so add some to your home butterfly garden to give this little guy a helping hand.
You can also attract Pearl Crescents to a “Butterfly Puddler,” which is basically a wet spot on the ground or in an old bird bath top where they can get a drink and some minerals .
There are many diverse, smaller species of butterflies in our Meadowlands. The Pearl Crescent is just one of many, so keep a close eye out for this wonderful little petite butterfly the next time you are exploring the trails and gardens of the Meadowlands .
How to create a Butterfly Puddler https://vimeo.com/61204533