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Species Feniseca tarquinius - Harvester

Harvester caterpillar - Feniseca tarquinius Harvester caterpillar? - Feniseca tarquinius Harvester caterpillar? - Feniseca tarquinius Harvester butterfly larvae - Feniseca tarquinius Harvester butterfly larva - Feniseca tarquinius Harvester meets prey - Feniseca tarquinius Harvester pupa - Feniseca tarquinius Harvester pupa lateral - Feniseca tarquinius
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies (excluding skippers))
Family Lycaenidae (Blues, Coppers, Hairstreaks, Harvesters)
Subfamily Miletinae (Harvesters, Apeflies)
Genus Feniseca
Species tarquinius (Harvester)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Feniseca tarquinius (Fabricius 1793). Synonyms:
Feniseca crataegi Boisduval 1833
Feniseca porsenna Scudder 1862
Feniseca suffusa Dean 1862
See links to subspecies descriptions below for references on synonymies.
Explanation of Names
Genus name feniseca is Latin meaning a mower, a harvester (1). Lucius Tarquinus Superbus was the legendary seventh (and last) Etruscan king of Rome who was exiled for cruelty. So this is the "cruel harvester".
Numbers
Butterflies of America lists two subspecies:
Feniseca tarquinius novascotiae McDunnough, 1935 (listed, erroneously, in some sources as Feniseca novascotiae)
Size
Wingspan 23-32 mm
Identification
Distinctive small orange, black, and white-patterned Lycaennid. Underside, with the white circlets, is unique. (This helps it blend in with aphid colonies it visits?) Do not rub wings together like other members of this family. Flight erratic, quite dizzying for the butterfly-watcher.
Range
Eastern North America. Southern Canada to gulf coast.
Habitat
Woodlands, esp. deciduous forests. Often along streams, near the hos tplant (alders) for its larval prey, wooly aphids. Sometimes in drier woods, such as near American Beech, which also hosts aphids.
Season
May-August in north (two flights), February-September (three flights) in south.
Food
Adults take fluids, e.g., from damp sand, dung, carrion, aphid honeydew.
Caterpillars eat other insects, especially woolly aphids.
Life Cycle
Males perch on leaves (near aphid colonies?) on the lookout for females, also patrol. Eggs laid among aphid (or other homopteran) colonies. Larvae are unique, feed on wooly aphids and other homopterans that suck sap from trees, shrubs, and occasionally, herbs. Larvae are reported to feed from under a silken web. Larvae of some species in this subfamily are attended by ants, but this has not been noted for this species. May overwinter as a late-stage larva.
Remarks
Always seem to be rather uncommon and local.
Print References
Borror, entry for feniseca (1)
Scott, #295, p. 396, has illustrations of larva, pupa. (2)
Brock, pp. 80-81 (3)
Glassberg, p. 65, plate 15 (4)
Allen, p. 73, has illustrations of adult, larva, pupa. (5)
Internet References
Reference to vibrational signaling in this species (paper under review).
Canadian Biodiversity--photos of adult and larva
Univ. Florida IFAS--Featured Creatures account, article
Works Cited
1.Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms
Donald J. Borror. 1960. Mayfield Publishing Company.
2.The Butterflies of North America: A Natural History and Field Guide
James A. Scott. 1992. Stanford University Press.
3.Butterflies of North America (Kaufman Focus Guides)
Jim P. Brock, Kenn Kaufman. 2003. Houghton Mifflin Co.
4.Butterflies Through Binoculars: The East
Jeffrey Glassberg. 1999. Oxford University Press.
5.The Butterflies of West Virginia and Their Caterpillars
Thomas J. Allen. 1998. University of Pittsburgh Press.