North American Butterflies and Moths List

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The Registry of Nature Habitats

U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Colorado

Desert Green Hairstreak (Callophrys comstocki)

Desert Green Hairstreak (Callophrys comstocki Henne)

Wing span: 13/16 - 1 inches (2.2 - 2.9 cm).

Identification: Upperside gray. Underside gray-green with sinuous row of white dots on hindwing.

Life history: Males perch to watch for females in depressions or gulch bottoms. Females lay eggs singly on host plant leaves. Caterpillars eat leaves, although some prefer flowers and young fruits. Chrysalids hibernate.

Flight: One or two flights from March-May and August-September, second flight usually small.

Caterpillar hosts: Various wild buckwheats (Eriogonum), especially Wright's buckwheat and racemose buckwheat

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Sagebrush scrub, pinyon-juniper woodland.

Range: Great Basin and arid inter-mountain West from northern Nevada and eastern California east to southern Utah and western Colorado.

Conservation: Habitats are being invaded by Cheatgrass in some areas. Subspecies interrupta Austin in Nevada may be in greater need of conservation.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G2,G3 - for species. Imperiled because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences), or because of other factors demonstrably making it very vulnerable to extinction throughout its range. (Endangered throughout its range). OR very rare or local throughout its range or found locally in a restricted range . T1,T2 for subspecies interrupta.

Management needs: None reported but assessment of various populations, especially on public lands, is necessary.


Emmel, T.C. and J.F. Emmel. 1973. The butterflies of southern California. Natural 
     History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles. 148 pages.

Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown. 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. 
     University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 442 pages.

Garth, J.S. and J.W. Tilden. 1986.California Butterflies. University of California 
     Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles. 246 pp, 24 plates.

Opler, P.A. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies.  Houghton-Mifflin Co., 
     Boston, Mass. 540 pages, 44 color plates.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, 
     Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.

Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies including 
     adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Denver and Fort Collins, CO. 

Author: Paul A. Opler

State and Regional References:

Brown, F.M., Eff, J.D., and B. Rotger. 1957. Colorado Butterflies. Denver 
     Museum of Natural History, Denver.

Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown. 1980. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. 
     University of Oklahoma Press. Norman.

Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998.  The Butterflies of 
     Canada.  University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON.  280 pp. 

Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised 
     edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.

Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. 
     Privately published, Denver, Colo.

Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. 
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.
Desert Green Hairstreak (Callophrys comstocki)
distribution map
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