Early Hairstreak (Erora laeta [W. H. Edwards])
Wing span: 7/8 - 15/16 inch (2.2 - 2.4 cm).
Identification: No tails. Upperside blue and black; female has more blue than male. Underside turquoise blue; hindwing with 2 irregular bands of small orange spots.
Life history: Males perch in treetops to watch for females. Eggs are laid singly on the underside of host plant leaves; caterpillars feed on leaves and fruits.
Flight: Two broods in the north and three in the south, from April-September.
Caterpillar hosts: Beech (Fagus grandifolia) and beaked hazel (Corylus cornuta).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers of fleabane, ox-eyed daisy, and hardtack.
Habitat: Deciduous and mixed woods, especially on open ridgetops and along dirt roads.
Range: Rare and local in its range. Maritime Provinces west to northern Michigan and northern Wisconsin; south through the Appalachians to Tennessee and North Carolina.
Conservation: All confirmed populations should be conserved.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: Protect habitats and nectar sources.
Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates. Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Covell, Charles. 1998. The Butterflies and Moths (Lepidoptera) of Kentucky: an Annotated Checklist. Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, Frankfort, KY. Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON. 280 pp. Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.