I was lucky to come across Sherry Felix's blog post, which helped me identify the butterfly I photographed as a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) butterfly. Thanks, Sherry!
The Pearl Crescent butterfly, found all across North America except the West Coast, inhabits open spaces like fields and pine woods. It sports orange uppersides with black borders and marks, while the underside of its hindwing showcases a dark marginal patch with a light crescent.
These butterflies sustain themselves on nectar from flowers like dogbane and aster. Female Pearl Crescents meticulously place their eggs on aster leaves, and the caterpillars, which also feed on asters, go through winter in their caterpillar stage. The flight period spans from April to November featuring three broods.
Right after emerging, Pearl Crescents often gather near puddles before dispersing into fields to drink nectar and mate. I photographed this butterfly in the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve meadow.