Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Feniseca tarquinius (Fabricius)
Orig. Comb: Hesperia tarquinius Fabricius, 1793
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".
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.
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.
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)
--photos of adult and larva