Why They Call Them Brushfoot Butterflies

This is a male pearl crescent, Phyciodes tharos.


Butterflies are insects, and insects have six legs, right?  But this one only seems to have four.

Pearl crescents belong to a family of butterflies, Nymphalidae or nymphalids.  The group is also referred to as “brushfoot butterflies.”  The front pair of legs in this family is greatly reduced in size and the hairs remind some people of brushes.


The right leg can be seen just below the eye.


See it now?  Not much good for walking.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
This entry was posted in butterflies, pearl crescent, Phyciodes tharos and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why They Call Them Brushfoot Butterflies

  1. villandra24 says:

    Thanks for the one and only clear photo I have seen anywhere of the foreleg of a brushfoot.

    Could you please illustrate the characteristic forelegs of male and female brushfoots?

    If you want to throw in the nether end of their abdomens, that would be really boss!


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