E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Phyciodes pallida Hübner, [1819]
Crescents; Pale Crescent
Family: Nymphalidae (Brushfoots)
Species account authors: Crispin Guppy and Jon Shepard.
Extracted from Butterflies of British Columbia
The Families of Lepidoptera of BC
Introduction to the Butterflies of BC

© Norbert Kondla  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #6408)

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Distribution of Phyciodes pallida in British Columbia.
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Species Information


Adults of this species and its sister species, P. mylitta, differ from others in the genus. They show the primitive checkerboard upperside wing pattern of the subfamily. The Pale Crescent looks essentially like the Mylitta Crescent, but is about twice as large, with a crisper underside pattern.

Immature Stages



BC populations are currently differentiated as the Great Basin subspecies Barnes' Pale Crescent, P.p. barnesi Skinner, 1897 (TL: Glenwood Springs, CO), but are only weakly, if at all, different from the nominate subspecies (TL: Flagstaff Mt., Boulder Co., CO).

Genus Description

The name Phyciodes may come from the Greek phykos (painted or "covered with cosmetics"), in reference to the complex ventral wing pattern. The common name "crescents" (Gosse 1840) refers to the crescent-shaped spot in the centre of the ventral hindwing margin.

Phyciodes in the limited sense used here is separated from the Neotropical genera Anthanassa Scudder and Eresis Boisduval by the presence of two to four in-curved hooks on the posterior tip of the tegumen of the male genitalia. The saccus is present in the male genitalia. The genus is Nearctic and contains nine species. The larvae of BC species feed on asters (Aster) or thistles (Cirsium).


The Pale Crescent flies in one generation from mid-May to early July. Where it flies sympatrically with the double-brooded Mylitta Crescent, the peak flight of the Pale Crescent occurs between the two broods of the Mylitta Crescent. The overwintering stage is not known, but is suspected to be the fourth instar larva. Larvae have been reared from Cirsium undulatum in the Chilcotin, BC (Anna Roberts).


The Pale Crescent is the most restricted member of the genus Phyciodes in BC. It is known only from the most xeric habitat in the Chilcotin, the Southern Interior, and the Rocky Mountain Trench, south of Windermere.



The Pale Crescent is found from extreme southern interior BC south to AZ and CO .

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS5YellowNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2019. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2020-07-09 5:59:17 PM]
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