Tawny Crescent

Phyciodes batesii

The Tawny Crescent looks very much like the Northern and Pearl Crescents, and I have yet to see an individual that I could say with certainty was a Tawny Crescent. All photos I have taken of crescents have orange-tipped antennas, whereas the Tawny Crescent’s antennae are black and white. In Butterflies of Wisconsin, Ebner tells of a collector in Marinette County in 1955-56 who attempted to discover this species in Wisconsin and collected over 5,000 crescents, of which only 3 were this species!

Dave Hanson’s photograph of the male is the first photograph from below that I have seen from Wisconsin, and I was extremely happy to see visual proof that this species is present in the state. I believe that photos of females and males from above are so similar to the other crescents that it is impossible to identify this species from those photos.

The Tawny Crescent is listed as a species of special concern in both Michigan and Wisconsin.

Weekly sightings for Tawny Crescent

Identifying characteristics

Above, both males and females are very much like the female Pearl and Northern Crescents, and usually are just slightly darker looking because of the larger amount of black markings. Below, the males of this species is uniformly colored on the hindwing, with little or no darker spot near the middle wing margin as in the Pearl and Northern Crescents.

Similar species

The females of all the crescents are very similar, and before identifying an individual as this species, you need to look at the males and compare the hind wing below. In the Pearl and the Northern Crescent, there is a significant darker area near the middle of the hindwing margin, which is absent in the Tawny Crescent.

Habitat

The Wisconsin DNR says that this species is fond of drier, sandy habitats including barren areas, woodland openings, and roadsides.

Flight

One brood usually in June and early July, with a possible partial second brood in August

Abundance

It is difficult to tell whether this species is just uncommon, or if it is just overlooked because it is so very much like the Northern and Pearl Crescents. I look at every Crescent that I see in hopes of viewing this species, but I have had no success so far. It is listed as a species of special concern in both Michigan and Wisconsin.

Late Tawny Crescent Sightings

Date County Reported by
Jun 25, 2011 Bayfield Eric North
Jun 26, 2013 Bayfield Mike Reese
Jun 27, 2013 Bayfield Mike Reese, David Hans...
Jul 25, 2003 Bayfield Ann & Scott Swengel
Aug 8, 2003 Bayfield Dave Hanson

Locations

Map showing sighting locations for Tawny Crescent
Map key
Tawny Crescent

Photo © 2005 david hanson

Bayfield Co., WI. June 2005.

Tawny Crescent

Photo © 2005 david hanson

Bayfield Co., WI. June 2005.

Tawny CrescentClick to enlarge

Moquah Barrens, Bayfield Co., WI, June 10, 2012.

Tawny CrescentClick to enlarge

Moquah Barrens, Bayfield Co., WI, June 10, 2012.