Common Name: Goatweed butterfly
Scientific Name: Anaea aidea (Guérin-Menéville)
Description: This is a red butterfly with tails. Adults have a 2 to 2-1/2 inch wingspan; their fore wings have pointed tips (falcate) and hind wings each have one tail. Males are mostly reddish on top with darker wing margins; females have additional bands of dark and lighter markings that follow the wing margins. Caterpillars are green-gray and granular in appearance due to a covering of bumps (tubercles). The head bears orange “horns.” They roll up leaves and hide in them.
There are several other species in Texas similar to, but less common or widely distributed than, A. andria. One example is the tropical leaf wing, Anaea aidea (Guerin-Meneville), which has hind wing margins toothed rather than smooth.
Life Cycle: Females lay eggs singly on host plants and produce several generations per year. Adults are commonly seen flying very late in the fall and early in the spring.
Habitat and Food Source(s): Caterpillars feed on leaves of goatweed (Croton spp.).
Pest Status: Harmless.
See also Butterfly Gardening in Texas.
Literature: Howe 1975; Neck 1996; Wright 1993.