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Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Hackberry Emperor.

 Updated: 9/18/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The warm weather of the southern U.S. and Mexico allows the Hackberry Emperor butterfly to produce up to three generations in just one year.



Hackberry Emperors can be found near hackberry trees. The larval caterpillars feed on the leaves of this host plant and namesake. They also feed on sugarberry trees. Many of them may be found feeding in close proximity to each other because females lay fertilized eggs in clusters on leaves. Caterpillars are plumpy and green with two yellow stripes running down the dorsal side (back). Yellow dots from head to rear may be visible between these two stripes. White diagonal lines on the sides of the caterpillar also run from head to rear. The green body is freckled with tiny white spots. Two fleshy antennae extend from the head and split into short fleshy branches. The tip of abdomen splits into a nubby two-pronged 'tail'.

Adults can vary in color and can range from brown to orange. They are fast and erratic in flight and rest on tree trunks head-down. They feed on rotting fruit juices, tree sap and animal dung. They may also visit decaying animal carcasses for liquid nourishment. Look for adult Hackberry Emperors in forests, woodland edges, near water sources (creeks, rivers, streams), gardens and backyards.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Nymphalidae
          Genus: Asterocampa
            Species: celtis
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Asterocampa celtis
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 35mm to 63mm (1.37in to 2.46in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, white, orange, black, tan, blue
Descriptors: flying, eyespots, butterfly
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.




Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
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Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
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Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.