Wild Guide


Little Wood Satyr

Megisto cymela




1¼–1¾ inches



Little wood satyrs are common sights between May and August, skipping along wooded trails. They occur in places where woodlands meet open, grassy areas, open woods, and brushy fields, and sometimes in city yards.

Two large, dark eyespots adorn all four wings of adult little wood satyrs. The caterpillars are greenish brown with dark lateral stripes and a dark line down the back. The surface has many small bumps that each produce a short brownish hair. The head is off-white, and there is a pair of whitish horns on the last segment.

Did You Know?

This butterfly’s name gives homage to its preferred habitat — woodlands — but also is derived from 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..


Larvae feed on grasses. Adults feed on sap, fruit, and aphid “honeydew” (the sugary secretions that result from feeding on plant sap). They rarely visit flowers.

Life Cycle

Adults fly from May through August. Males are active most of the day, skipping through fields and brushy areas in search of females. Females lay single eggs on grasses or at the base of tree trunks. There is one large hatch in May and early June, followed shortly after by either a partial second brood or a delayed emergence of part of the first brood. Caterpillars feed at night, with partially grown caterpillars overwintering.

Discover more nature at mdc.mo.gov/field-guide

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