Deciphering Butterflies: Genus Lethe

Deciphering Butterflies: Genus Lethe

These two butterflies are very similar in size, shape and coloration but under close observation can be easily identified.

Eyed Brown (Lethe eurydice)

General Appearance – Medium sized butterfly, 1 1/2 – 2 7/16 inches, rather uniformly light brown. 
Range – Most of the state (in colonies) north of the Platte River in riparian areas and wetlands. Absent from the northeast. 
Status – Can be common when located. 
Dorsal – Forewing more uniformly light brown than the Northern Pearly Eye with all four black spots clearly visible. 
Ventral – Forewing eyespots touching or nearly so; outer dark line is zigzagged at the base of the hindwing.

Eyed Brown species page

Northern Pearly Eye (Lethe anthedon)

General Appearance – Medium sized butterfly, 1 3/4 – 2 5/8 inches, generally slightly larger than Eyed Browns, mottled to uniformly light brown. 
Range – Absent from the panhandle and southwest but can be found elsewhere in open woodlands and woodland borders. 
Status – Occasional, rarely more than a handful of individuals. 
Dorsal – Slightly more mottled than the Eyed Brown. The third spot from the bottom on the forewing is reduced or absent. 
Ventral – Also more mottled in appearance than the Eyed Brown with the outermost dark line on the hindwing sinuous but not obviously toothed.

Northern Pearly Eye species page

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