North American Butterflies and Moths List

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

The Registry of Nature Habitats

U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Missouri

Soapberry Hairstreak (Phaeostrymon alcestis)
JPG -- species photo

Soapberry Hairstreak (Phaeostrymon alcestis [W. H. Edwards])

Wing span: 1 - 1 1/2 inches (2.5 - 3.8 cm).

Identification: Upperside plain deep brown. Underside of both wings have cells with narrow white bars outlined in black. Postmedian band white, bold, and jagged.

Life history: Males patrol for females around the canopy. Females lay eggs singly on host plant twigs. Eggs overwinter and hatch in spring; caterpillars feed on leaves.

Flight: One flight from April-July.

Caterpillar hosts: Western soapberry (Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Desert foothill canyons, prairie valleys, hedgerows, woodlands, roadsides.

Range: Northeastern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona east to Kansas, south to Texas.

Conservation: Not usually required.

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: None reported.


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.

Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies.  Houghton-Mifflin Co., 
    Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

State and Regional References:

Heitzman, J.R. and Heitzman, J.E.  1987.  Butterflies and Moths of Missouri.
     Missouri Dept. of Conservation.  Jefferson City, MO.  385 pp. 

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.     
Soapberry Hairstreak (Phaeostrymon alcestis)
distribution map
map legend

Return to species list
Return to Butterflies of North America main page