Wood Nymph
 
 
Description  1 1/2 - 1 7/8" Above, black-brown or
dark-brown, usually with 1 or 2 black FW eyespots. Male
has prominent, dark sex patch on FW above.

Below, FW similar to upperside but lighter, with 2 eyespots
with pupils and usually yellow rims, the lower one
noticeably smaller and nearer the wing margin than the
upper (female usually has larger eyespots); HW ranges
from nearly black to mottled gray-brown and black
(frost-whitish in parts of central Nevada), crossed by darker
band defined by dark brown lines, which are sharply
zigzagged (especially inner one).

Life Cycle  Egg cream-colored, keg-shaped. Caterpillar
green with dark green and white back stripes, yellow side
stripes. Host plants are grasses (Poaceae). Chrysalis may
be green, brown, or black with light stripes.

Flight  1 brood; July-August.

Habitat  Dry, open grasslands including valleys, sage
flats, ponderosa pine forest openings, grassy mountain
roadsides, and lakesides.

Range  Central British Columbia south in Cascades
and Sierra Nevada to central California, and east to
eastern edge of Rockies and Black Hills.

Discussion  Strictly limited to the mountainous West,
the Small Wood-nymph eschews the coast, the Arctic, and
the arctic-alpine, but is otherwise widespread and
tremendously abundant throughout late summer. It
dodges in and out of sagebrush clumps, skillfully avoiding
predators.