Little Wood Satyr

Megisto cymela
Nymphalidae (brushfooted butterflies)

Adults: All four wings have two large, dark eyespots circled with yellow on both wing surfaces; a few smaller, indistinct eyespots may also be present. Two brown lines cross each wing.

Larvae are greenish brown with dark lateral stripes; there is a pair of whitish horns on the last segment.

Wingspan: 1¼–1¾ inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
Occurs in places where woodlands meet open, grassy areas, open woods and brushy fields and sometimes in city yards.
Larvae feed on members of the Poaceae—the grass family. Adults feed on sap, fruit and aphid “honeydew” (the sugary secretions that result from feeding on plant sap). They rarely visit flowers.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Common resident.
Life cycle: 
Adults fly from May through August. Males patrol to find females, which lay single eggs on grasses or at the base of tree trunks. Caterpillars from the single brood feed at night, with partially grown caterpillars overwintering.
Human connections: 
The common name emphasizes the woodland habitat of this species, with its reference to the Satyrs of Greek mythology. A Satyr (pronounced SAY-tur) was a type of woodland deity. Perhaps the bouncing flight of the butterfly reminded its namer of the revelry the Satyrs were fond of.
Ecosystem connections: 
The caterpillars are herbivores that graze on grasses. Predator avoidance might account for the butterfly’s skipping flight, but it might also serve to advertise an individual’s presence to possible mates. It could also simply be caused by the mechanics of their wing shape and size.
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