Floridata Article

Dogface (Zerene cesonia)

Dogface butterfly
You can't see the characteristic dog face when the wings are folded.
Habitat: Open, sunny, and dry locations such as oak scrub, pinelands, old fields, meadows, and pastures Garden Abundance: Low Wingspan: 2.0 to 3.0in Larval Host Plants: False indigo (Amorpha fruticosa), lead plant (A. canescens), summer farewell (Dalea pinnata), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and clovers (Trifolium spp.) Favorite Adult Nectar Sources: Butterfly weed( Asclepias tuberosa ), shepherd's needles (Bidens alba), tickseed (Coreopsis grandiflora), whorled coreopsis (C. verticillata) and Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium fistulosum)

Without a doubt, the dogface is one of the most attractive and easily recognizable of the sulphur butterflies. This butterfly is sulphur yellow with black and yellow markings on the upper surface of each forewing that resemble the profile of a poodle's head. The forewings are sharply pointed on their tips.

An extremely swift flier, the dogface is most easily approached when nectaring. Although fond of dry habitats such as pinelands, oak scrub, prairies and open woodland, the dogface also is a frequent garden visitor. The dogface occurs in eastern North America from New York southward all the way to South America; it is a common butterfly everywhere except the northern parts of its range.

The dogface caterpillar also is very handsome, with bold yellow and black cross bands (and sometimes a pair of yellow and black lateral stripes) on a bright green body. They feed on a variety of leguminous plants.

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