Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

Red Satyr, MEGISTO RUBRICATA, side view

from the April 14, 2013 Newsletter issued from the Frio Canyon Nature Education Center in northern Uvalde County, southwestern Texas, on the southern border of the Edwards Plateau, USA

For a couple of weeks a butterfly not noticed last fall has appeared, the one shown above. A view of one with open wings is shown below.

Red Satyr, MEGISTO RUBRICATA, top view

Volunteer identifier Bea in Ontario immediately pegged that as a satyr -- a member of the subfamily Satyrinae in the enormous Brushfooted Butterfly Family, the Nymphalidae -- but she needed at least a minute or two to figure out that it was the Red Satyr, MEGISTO RUBRICATA.

These are smallish butterflies that will lead a camera-ready naturalist on a merry chase up and down an arroyo (dry streambed). For a good twenty minutes the one in the photograph would land on a cobblestone and wait until I was about ready to snap his picture, then fly a few feet away, and the whole process would be repeated, again and again. However, I thought that chasing a pretty butterfly is a relatively innocent and agreeable way to spend one's minutes, was not biosphere-degrading or morally corrupt in any way, plus it was good exercise, so I kept at it and eventually was rewarded with pictures.

I'm glad to add the Red Satyr to our "Butterflies of Uvalde County" page at http://www.backyardnature.net/n/a/uvalde/ not only because it's good to see any butterfly at this time of year, but also because this is a species most North American butterfly fanciers never see unless they visit the arid south-central US. Red Satyrs live in open mesquite, juniper and oak-pine woodlands from Guatemala through Mexico, into the US in central Arizona in the west to south-central Kansas in the east. The species' caterpillars feed on grass species, so they must feel welcome here where so many prairie patches occur.