Species Feniseca tarquinius - Harvester
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies (excluding skippers))
Family Lycaenidae (Blues, Coppers, Hairstreaks, Harvesters)
Subfamily Miletinae (Harvesters, Apeflies)
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".
Butterflies of America
lists two subspecies:
Feniseca tarquinius novascotiae
McDunnough, 1935 (listed, erroneously, in some sources as Feniseca novascotiae
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.
Eastern North America. Southern Canada to gulf coast.
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.
May-August in north (two flights), February-September (three flights) in south.
Adults take fluids, e.g., from damp sand, dung, carrion, aphid honeydew.
Caterpillars eat other insects, especially woolly aphids.
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.
Always seem to be rather uncommon and local.
Borror, entry for feniseca (1)
Scott, #295, p. 396, has illustrations of larva, pupa. (2)
Glassberg, p. 65, plate 15 (4)
Allen, p. 73, has illustrations of adult, larva, pupa. (5)
Reference to vibrational signaling
in this species (paper under review).
--photos of adult and larva