Mitchell's satyr is a small, brown butterfly that lives in prairie fen habitat. The decline of the species is attributed to changes in habitat and hydrology, and suppression of natural disturbance events important to maintaining fen habitat.
Mitchell’s satyr caterpillars feed on one or more species of grass-like plants called sedges. Adults occasionally feed on nectar.
The Mitchell's satyr butterfly has an overall rich brown color. The ventral surface, or underside, of the forewing and hindwing contains a row of four to five black, yellow-ringed ocelli, or eyespots, with the central three eyespots on the hindwing being the largest. Two orange bands encircle the eyespots. Mature larvae are pale green with pale, longitudinal stripes and a bifurcate tail.
The Mitchell's satyr is a medium-sized butterfly.
Wingspan: 1.75 in
Mitchell's satyr has four life stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The eggs are laid on grasses, sedges or the underside of small forb seedlings. Eggs hatch into caterpillars, or larvae, in about a week. The caterpillar grows throughout the year, shedding its skin many times. The fourth stage caterpillar hibernates under the snow and emerges the following spring to resume its development. In late-May to late-June, the caterpillar pupate, forming a chrysalis. After 10 to 15 days, the adult butterfly emerges. The adult lived two to three weeks.
Mitchell's satyr adults emerge June through July. Adults live two to three weeks to mate, disperse and lay eggs.
The Saint Francis' satyr is an endangered butterfly subspecies found only in North Carolina.
The Mitchell’s satyr is restricted to rare wetlands called fens, which are low nutrient wetlands that receive carbonate-rich ground water from seeps and springs. The southern populations are typically associated with beaver-influenced wetlands that are sedge dominated, and occasionally semi-openor floodplain forest areas.
Areas such as marshes or swamps that are covered often intermittently with shallow water or have soil saturated with moisture.
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