Species Page: Hackberry Butterfly (Asterocampa celtis)

Hackberry Emperor

Asterocampa celtis (Boisduval & Le Conte, [1835])

Family: Nymphalidae

Status: Occasional to abundant local resident

NENHP Rank: Not listed

Range: Found from the New England states west to the Dakotas and south to Florida, Arizona and Mexico. It occurs statewide in Nebraska.

Larval Hostplant(s): Hackberry trees (Celtis occidentalis).

Broods/Flight Times: Two broods, normally peaking in mid June and mid August. A third flight is reported in Missouri, and could occur in southern portions of the state. 15 May – 30 September.

Overwintering: As partially grown larvae.

Habitat: The Hackberry Emperor is a butterfly inhabiting woodland margins where it is often the most common species found.

Avg. Wingspan: 1 3/8 – 2 1/2 inches

Found at:

Similar Species: Tawny Emperor

Notes: Adults sometimes feed on nectar (smooth sumac is a favorite of the early summer flight) but more commonly frequent sap flows, fermenting fruit, mud, scat and carrion. They are not averse to landing on humans where they can sometimes be observed close up as they imbibe sweat.