Species Mestra amymone - Common Mestra - Hodges#4537
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)
Species amymone (Common Mestra - Hodges#4537)
Other Common Names
(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
may have been derived from Mestria, a Roman surname (10)
Amymone, in Greek mythology, was one of fifty daughters of Danaus (6)
is one of three Mestra spp.
, but the only sp. that occurs outside of S. Amer. or the W. Indies (Jamaica) (BOA)
see also, Main sp. page
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
Howe (1958) reported eight specimens taken at Ottawa, Franklin County, Kansas during 1950
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
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)
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)
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
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
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
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|5.||A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides)|
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|10.||Butterflies East of the Great Plains|
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|11.||Distributional notes on the genus Mestra (Nymphalidae) in North America.|
Masters, J.H. 1970. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society, 24(3): 203-208.
|13.||Guide to butterflies of Austin.|
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|14.||Butterflies of North America|
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|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.