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:
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.