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.
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Megisto rubricata belongs to the subfamily Satyrinae. This species can be found
from Guatemala then north to Arizona, central New Mexico, east Texas and south-central
Kansas. Its preferred habitat includes open mesquite, juniper or oak-pine woodland.
The larval food source includes various grasses such as Bermuda grass, Cynodon dactylon,
and St. Augustine grass, Stenotaphrum secundatum. Males patrol in shady areas for
females. Eggs are scattered on dead leaves or near grass blades. Caterpillars eat
grass blades and mature caterpillars hibernate.