Overview

Comprehensive Description

General Description

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.
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Distribution

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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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Central Canada, south spottily in Western mountains to southern Mexico. Absent from much of California, Nevada, Oregon. Also in northern US and southern Canada, extending south to Michigan, New England; in Appalachians to Virginia.

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Ecology

Habitat

Ubiquitous throughout most ecoregions in Alberta, particularly forest clearings and parklands.
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Comments: A variety of fields, meadows, glades, openings in woodlands etc.; may become more specialized at periphery of the range. In in fairly lush habitats.

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

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).
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Comments: Larvae feed on various ASTER spp. and VERBESINA (Paul Opler).

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

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Global Abundance

10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

The single brood flies in June, possibly a second brood in August - September.
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Life Cycle

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.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Phyciodes cocyta

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 24 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

TGAGCAGGAATAGTAGGAACTTCTTTAAGACTTTTAATTCGAACTGAATTAGGAAATCCCGGATCTTTAATTGGAGAT---GATCAAATTTATAATACTATTGTTACAGCTCATGCTTTTATTATAATTTTTTTTATAGTTATACCTATTATAATTGGAGGATTTGGAAATTGATTAGTACCTTTAATATTAGGAGCTCCTGATATAGCTTTCCCCCGAATAAATAATATAAGTTTTTGATTACTACCCCCATCATTAATTTTATTAATTTCTAGTAGAATTGTAGAAAATGGAGCAGGAACAGGATGAACAGTTTACCCACCCCTCTCATCTAATATTGCCCATAGAGGAGCTTCAGTAGACTTAGCAATTTTTTCCCTTCATTTAGCGGGAATTTCATCAATTTTAGGAGCTATTAATTTTATTACTACAATTATTAATATACGTGTTAACAATATATCTTTTGATCAAATACCTTTATTCGTTTGAGCTGTTGGTATTACAGCTTTATTACTATTACTTTCATTGCCAGTATTAGCTGGTGCTATTACAATACTTTTAACTGATCGAAATATTAATACTTCATTTTTTGACCCTGCTGGAGGAGGAGATCCTATTCTTTATCAACACTTATTTTGATTTTTTGGTNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNCCGGGATTTGGAATAATTTCCCATATTATTTCTCAAGAAAGAGGAAAAAAAGAAACTTTTGGTTGTTTAGGTATAATTTATGCTATAATAGCAATTGGTCTTTTAGGATTTATTGTTTGAGCTCATCATATATTTACAGTAGGTATAGATATTGATACTCGAG
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Phyciodes cocyta

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 23
Specimens with Barcodes: 186
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Not of concern.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Widespread and abundant especially in Canada.

Other Considerations: Populations in Pendleton (George Washington National Forest) and), Augusta Counties, Virginia, and Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico are distinctive.

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Threats

Degree of Threat: D : Unthreatened throughout its range, communities may be threatened in minor portions of the range or degree of variation falls within natural variation

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Management

Global Protection: Many to very many (13 to >40) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

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Wikipedia

Phyciodes cocyta

ventral view

The Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta) is a butterfly of the Nymphalidae family. It is found in the Nearctic ecozone.

The wingspan is 32–38 mm. The butterfly flies from June to July depending on the location.

The larvae feed on Asteraceae species.

Similar species[edit]

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Formerly in part (especially westward) considered a subspecies of P. tharos or more often not recognized at all by most eastern workers. Scott (1994) resurrected the long buried name cocyta for this species and Opler and Warren (2002) concur. This species has also recently been called P. selenis, pascoensis, and P. morpheus since about 1980. Porter and Mueller (1998) again question the distinctness of this species so the matter remains somewhat open although nearly all other recent works (except Guppy and Shepard, 2001) do recognize it as a species including Opler and Warren (2002). Some experts suspect that Porter and Mueller had the two taxa partially mixed, but it may be that interactions differ geographically. Eastward local populations of P. cocyta occur within the range of the ubiquitous P. tharos (e.g. Allen, 1997) and would obviously be swamped by tharos if they interbreed freely in places like Pennsylvania and the Virginias. This species is also easily confused with P. batesii and Schweitzer suspects it may be responsible for many old records of batesii in places where that species probably did not occur.

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