Description 1 3/4-2" (44-51 mm). Above, FW black with white dots; HW black with large red patch in middle of wing. Below, FW black with overlying white dots; HW yellow with black marks on basal half, followed by red band not connected to margin, black band with white dots, then marginal yellow crescents, and black border.
Similar Species Bordered Patch has orange, not red, patch that reaches margin.
Eggs clustered on acanthus shrubs (Anisacanthus wrightii and Odontonema callistachus). Caterpillar metallic gray-green with black lines, orange patches, and many black spines. Chrysalis gray-green with black lines and points.
Flight Successive broods; most of year in Mexico, at least July-November in Texas.
Habitat Subtropical wooded or scrub areas, especially along streams.
Range Central America north to S. Texas, rarely wandering north to central Texas.
Discussion Like many butterflies from the American Tropics, the Crimson Patch is occasionally abundant in the lower Rio Grande Valley of southern Texas. But cold winters can kill this species and necessitate periodic recolonization from Mexico. With its brilliant red disks, the Crimson Patch clearly illustrates the common name of the "patch" butterflies. The Rosita Patch (C. rosita), another Rio Grande resident, is nearly identical but lacks the marginal spots above and below.