Butterfly Briefs: Browns & Satyrs
(family Nymphalidae subfamily Satyrinae)
The Northern Pearly-eye (Enodia anthedon) is a medium-sized, gray-brown butterfly found in or near woodlands. It usually perches with its wings closed, showing a number of small eyespots along the edge of its wings as well as some brown lines. Northern Pearly-eyes are similar to Little Wood Satyrs but Pearly-eyes are a little larger, have scalloped wing edges, and a different pattern of eyespots and lines.
Adult Northern Pearly-eyes can be found during summer quickly flying low along the forest floor, regularly perching on vegetation, logs, and tree trunks. The adults are rarely seen at flowers and instead will visit tree sap, rotten fruit, and poop for nutrients. Their caterpillars feed on forest grasses such as bottlebrush grass and long-awned wood grass.
For more about the Northern Pearly-eye, visit mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/northern-pearly-eye
The Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela) is a small to medium-sized butterfly commonly found in and near woodlands. They have a distinctive, bouncy, slow flapping flight as they cruise low over the vegetation, often seeming to never pause for rest. Once perched, Little Wood Satyrs can be hard to spot, with their gray-brown color blending in well with leaf litter. In central Illinois, the species they could most likely be confused with is the Northern Pearly-eye, which is also found in woodlands but is slightly larger and has different eyespot and line patterns on the underside.
Adult Little Wood Satyrs are rarely found at flowers, feeding instead on sap, fruit, and sugary secretions from aphids. Their caterpillars feed on woodland grasses.
For more about the Little Wood Satyr, visit mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/little-wood-satyr