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Species Mestra amymone - Common Mestra - Hodges#4537

Common Mestra - Mestra amymone Common Mestra - Mestra amymone Common Maestra - Mestra amymone Unknown butterfly - Mestra amymone Common Mestra - Mestra amymone Butterfly - Mestra amymone Is this a common mestra? - Mestra amymone UnknownButterfly65 - Mestra amymone
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)
Subfamily Biblidinae (Tropical Brushfoots)
Tribe Biblidini
Genus Mestra
Species amymone (Common Mestra - Hodges#4537)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Amymone (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8) (obviously the predominant common name prior to NABA coining "Common Mestra"(9))
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Mestra amymone (Ménétriés)
Orig. Comb: Cysteneura amymone Ménétriés, 1857
considered by some to be a subspecies of Mestra dorcas (Fabricius, 1775) - (BOA)
Explanation of Names
Mestra may have been derived from Mestria, a Roman surname (10)
Amymone, in Greek mythology, was one of fifty daughters of Danaus (6)
Mestra amymone is one of three Mestra spp., but the only sp. that occurs outside of S. Amer. or the W. Indies (Jamaica) (BOA)
, larva:
see also, Main sp. page - BOA
annual breeding range is s. TX south to C. Amer. (11), but occasionally strays (sometimes in numbers) through south-central US - Map (MPG), and rarely as far north as MN and SD (Truman 1896)
An abundant, but periodic colonist of central Texas (12)(13)
A relatively uncommon visitor to the North Texas area, but in 2007 showed up in fair numbers in Tarrant, Dallas and Denton Counties. (DCLS)
Historical breeding records outside of Texas:
Reed (1913) reported: " ... in the summer of 1907, I found quite a large colony of them near Cordell, Washita County [Oklahoma]. I took specimens over a range of about eight or ten miles in extent. They were permanently located and were breeding."
Masters (1970) "took five specimens in less than an hour's collecting near Texarkana, Miller County [Arkansas] on August 31st, 1963." (11)
Howe (1958) reported eight specimens taken at Ottawa, Franklin County, Kansas during 1950. (14) Two more KS records were reported by Ely et al. (1983) at Fort Hays State University campus, Hays, Ellis County during the summer of 1981.
Bailowitz and Brock (1991) report fresh specimens throughout the falls of 1984 and 1990 in se Arizona. (15)
usually found in open areas, and along roadsides and the edges of woods (11)
"This butterfly is at home wherever the flowers are, whether dense woodlands or the edges of hot, sunny areas." (8)
flight season averages June to December in south Texas (16) and can be a late summer "rare influx species" in Arizona. (15)
larval host plants are vine Euphorbiaceae, Tragia spp. in the US, and also Dalechampia spp. further south. (17)(11)(8)(15)
Masters (1970) suggests that there are nine species and varieties of North American Tragia which all belong to a single variable species, T. neptifolia, but per USDA Database, there are currently 15 accepted NA spp. of Tragia and contrary to Masters, the genus ranges widely across the southern half of the US. (11)
Life Cycle
see: Common Mestra Life History - Berry Nall
Life Cycle Study - Jan Dauphin
adults not infrequently found apparently foraging on the inflorescences of grasses, (Sierra Picachos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, September 2006). Schappert (2004) speculates that mestras and other butterflies frequent grass heads for pyrrolidine alkaloid resources, or possibly even the chemical products of entophytic fungi that infest various grasses. Later, Schappert (2006) speculated that the butterflies may be attracted to sugary secretions that many grasses exude.
adults also attracted to fruit:

San Marcos, Hays County, in central Texas - Nov. 2016
Rosa Christisen McHenry (pers. comm. to MAQ, 2016) reports numerous mestras roosting under juniper trees at night.
Many tropical butterflies are noted for sometimes straying far northward, but Masters (1970) suggests that Mestra strays differ from all others in one important respect, the frequency of multiple captures in the extra-normal range. Records of tropical butterflies, in regions considerably north of their normal range, consist almost exclusively of single captures; yet nearly 50% of similar records for the Common Mestra are for multiple captures. This is significant because it indicates that M. amymone is actually breeding in many of the northern areas where it has been found. (11)
Print References
Ely, C.A., M.E. Rolfs and T.E. Labedz. 1983. New and unusual butterfly records from Kansas. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 37(3): 256-257. (Full PDF)
Gaskin, D.E. 1998. Butterflies of the upper Frio-Sabinal region, central Texas, and distribution of fauna elements across the Edwards Plateau. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society, 52(3): 229-261. (Full PDF) (12)
Masters, J.H. 1970. Distributional notes on the genus Mestra (Nymphalidae) in North America. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 24(3): 203-208. (Full PDF) (11)
Schappert, P.J. 2004. Strange Attractors: Coastal Sandbur, Cenchrus spinifex (Poaceae). News of the Lepidopterists' Society 46(4): 126-128, 124.
Schappert, P.J. 2006. Grass-Feeding Butterflies. Heard it through the grapevine Nov-Dec: 2-3. (Full PDF)
Reed, E.L. 1913. Cystineura amymone (Lepid.). Entomological News 24: 279. (Full Text)
Truman, P.G. 1896. Lepidoptera of South Dakota. Entomological News 7: 298-299, 8: 27-29. (Full Text)
Works Cited
1.The Butterfly Book: A Popular Guide to a Knowledge of the Butterflies of North America.
Holland, W.J. 1899. 1899. Doubleday & McClure Co., N.Y.
2.A Field Guide to the Butterflies of North America, East of the Great Plains
Alexander B. Klots. 1951. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. xvi + 349 pp.
3.National Audubon Society Field Guide to Butterflies
Robert Michael Pyle. 1981. Knopf.
4.A field guide to western butterflies.
Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 370 pp.
5.A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides)
Paul A. Opler, Vichai Malikul, Roger Tory Peterson. 1992. Houghton Mifflin Company.
6.Butterflies of Houston and southeast Texas.
John Tveten & Gloria Tveten. 1996. University of Texas Press, Austin. xii + 292 pp.
7.A field guide to butterflies of Texas
Neck, R.W. 1996. Gulf Publishing Co., Houston. xvii + 323 pp.
8.Butterfly gardening in the south: Cultivating plants that attract butterflies.
Geyata Ajilvsgi. 1990. Taylor Publishing Co., Dallas. xii + 342 pp.
9.NABA Checklist of North American Butterflies Occurring North of Mexico - Edition 2.3
10.Butterflies East of the Great Plains
Opler and Krizek. 1984. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. xvii + 294 pp.
11.Distributional notes on the genus Mestra (Nymphalidae) in North America.
Masters, J.H. 1970. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society, 24(3): 203-208.
12.Butterflies of the upper Frio-Sabinal region, central Texas, and distribution of fauna elements across the Edwards Plateau.
Gaskin, D.E. 1998. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society, 52(3): 229-261.
13.Guide to butterflies of Austin.
Durden, C.J. 1990. Texola 6: 1-109.
14.Butterflies of North America
Howe, W. H. (editor). 1975. Doubleday and Co., Garden City, NY. xiii + 633.
15.Butterflies of southeastern Arizona.
Bailowitz, R.A. & J.P. Brock. 1991. Sonoran Arthropod Studies, Tucson, Arizona. ix + 342 pp.
16.An annotated checklist of the butterflies of Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State park and vicinity.
McGuire, W.W. & M.A. Richard. 1974. Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Austin. Mimeograph pp. 1-22.
17.The Butterflies of North America: A Natural History and Field Guide
James A. Scott. 1992. Stanford University Press.