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stfran.gif - b/w drawing of Saint Francis Satyr Butterfly

Saint Francis Satyr in North Carolina


Neonympha mitchellii

STATUS: Endangered

DESCRIPTION: Saint Francis' satyr is a small, dark brown butterfly. The wingspan for the species ranges from 34 to 44 millimeters (Opler and Malikul 1992). Saint Francis' satyr has conspicuous "eye spots" on the lower surfaces of the wings. These eye spots have a dark maroon-brown center, and within the eye spots are lighter opalescent patches that reflect a silver cast. The border of these dark eye spots is straw-yellow in color, with an outermost border of dark brown. The eye spots are usually round to slightly oval and are well-developed on the fore wing as well as on the hind wing. The spots are accented by two bright orange bands along the posterior wing edges and two somewhat darker orange-brown bands across the central portion of each wing.

DISTRIBUTION: Only a single metapopulation of Saint Francis' satyr is known to exist in the sandhills of North Carolina, in Cumberland and Hoke Counties.

HABITAT: The habitat occupied by this satyr consists primarily of wide, wet meadows dominated by a high diversity of sedges and other wetland graminoids. In the North Carolina sandhills, such meadows are often relicts of beaver activity. Saint Francis' satyr has also been observed in pitcher plant (Sarracenia flava) swales, with cane (Arundinaria tecta), and with rare plants rough-leaved loosestrife (Lysimachia asperulaefolia) and pocosin lily (Lilium iridollai). It is, however, unknown whether the satyr uses such habitat for reproduction or simply as a dispersal corridor.

* Because their populations are highly vulnerable to the threat of collection, locations of this species are kept confidential. Documentation of this species is limited to  the sandhills of North Carolina. Please contact the USFWS if concerns for this species arise.

Species Distribution from known occurrences. Species may occur in similar habitats in other counties. Green counties indicate observed within 20 years. Yellow counties indicate an obscure data reference to the species in the county. Red counties indicate observed more than 20 years ago.

saintfrancis.gif - North Carolina county map with species location

Species Location Map based on information provided by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program.
For additional information regarding this Web page, contact Dale Suiter, in Raleigh, NC, at dale_suiter@fws.gov

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