Calephelis mutica
Swamp metalmark

Key Characteristics

Wingspan 1-1.3 inches (2.5-3.3 cm). The apex of the forewing is pointed. A small, orange-brown butterfly with metallic markings. Upper surfaces are red-brown with small black spots and two rows of metallic spots. Undersurfaces are bright orange with small black and metallic spots. Caterpillars are green with black dots and covered with long, white hairs and resemble a tiger moth caterpillar.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: S1
  • Global Rank: G3


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
St. Joseph11956
Distribution map for Calephelis mutica

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Marshes, wet meadows, openings in tamarack-poison sumac fens, and shrubby cinquefoil seeps.

Specific Habitat Needs

Host plant needed in Emergent marsh, Southern wet meadow, Prairie fen

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.


Threats to the swamp metalmark include habitat loss, degradation and/or fragmentation due to conversion to agricultural lands; industrial, residential and/or recreational development; altered fire regime; dams; altered hydrologic regimes; pollution; grazing and mowing patterns (vegetative succession); encroachment by shrubs and invasive species; and wetland modifications. Additional threats to this species include use of pesticides and herbicides and a lack of knowledge concerning the species. The sites at which this species has been documented should be protected and maintained. Adequate suitable habitat needs to be maintained at known sites including sufficient densities of the species' host plant, swamp thistle. Maintenance and long-term preservation of the habitats with which this species is associated may include maintaining and/or restoring hydrology, controlling invasive plants and controlling vegetative succession through promotion or replication of natural disturbance regimes and other ecological processes that drive the persistence and establishment of these natural communities (e.g., fire, beaver flooding). Prescribed burning can be used as a management tool to try to re-establish or replicate natural fire regimes in these habitats (e.g., prairie fens). In areas where this species or other rare invertebrates occur or are of management concern, burning strategies should allow for ample refugia (e.g., only burning part of the available habitat at a time, burn frequency and intensity, type of fire, etc.) to minimize incidental take or other potential adverse impacts and facilitate effective post-burn survival and/or recolonization.

Active Period

Flight from first week of July to second week of August

Survey Methods

The best way to survey for this species is by conducting visual meander surveys which consists of checking for this species near larval food plants and on adult nectar sources.

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Aug 16, 2018]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract


Survey References

Technical References

Facebook link