The family Nymphalidae is the largest butterfly family and includes about 6,000 species
which are further divided up into 12 subfamilies. The common name for the family
is the Brushfoots or Brushfooted Butterflies. This strange name is because the first
pair of legs are significantly reduced, sometimes to mere stubs, and look like little
brushes. Some of the most common and well known species are in this group such as
the Monarch, Red Admiral, Blue Morpho and Painted Lady. Some of the longest lived
butterflies are in this family with some species living over 10 months as adults.
The Brushfoots are distributed worldwide, with the highest diversity found in the
tropics. With this variety, there is also quite a difference in behavior, adult
food choices and habitat preference from species to species.
All photographs, artwork, text and website design are the property of The Butterflies
of the World Foundation (unless otherwise stated) and are protected under national
and international copyright laws. Photographs, artwork or text on this website may
not be reproduced in any way without prior written consent of The Butterflies of
the World Foundation.
Lethe anthedon, Little Yellowstone Park, Barnes County, North Dakota, 28 June 2003
Lethe anthedon belongs to the subfamily Satyrinae. It is found throughout the eastern
half of North America except for the far southeastern U.S. Its preferred habitat
is damp deciduous woods, usually near marshes or waterways and mixed or grassy woodlands.
The larval food source includes various grasses including white grass, Leersia virginica,
bearded shorthusk, Brachyelytrum erectum, plumegrass, Erianthus sp., broadleaf uniola,
Uniola latifolia, and bottlebrush, Hystrix patula. Males perch on tree trunks or
vegetation up to 10 feet above ground at edges of clearings to wait for females.
Eggs are laid singly on the host plant and third and fourth instar caterpillars