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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of New York

Edwards' Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii)
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Edwards' Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii [Grote & Robinson])

Wing span: 1 1/8 - 1 1/2 inches (3 - 3.8 cm).

Identification: One tail on the hindwing. Underside of hindwing pale brown, with postmedian band of dark brown oval spots; blue tail-spot not topped with orange.

Life history: Males perch on trees to watch for females. Eggs are laid in bark crevices of young hosts. Young caterpillars eat buds during the day. Older caterpillars eat leaves at night and hide during the day in ant nests at the base of the host tree. In return for protection, the ants feed on honeydew produced by the caterpillars.

Flight: One flight from June-July in the north, May-July in the south.

Caterpillar hosts: Scrub oak (Quercus ilicifolia) and occasionally black oak (Q. velutina).

Adult food: Nectar from various flowers including dogbane, goldenrod, meadowsweet, milkweeds, New Jersey tea, staghorn sumac, and white sweet clover.

Habitat: Oak thickets in rocky open habitats including sand barrens, shale barrens, and limestone ridges.

Range: Eastern United States from southern Canada and southern Maine south to northeast Texas, central Missouri, and northern Georgia.

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.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

State and Regional References:

Cech, R. 1993.  A Distributional Checklist of the Butterflies and Skippers of 
     the New York City Area (50-mile Radius) and Long Island.  New York City 
     Butterfly Club Special Publication.  27 pp.

Forbes, W.T.M.  1960.  Lepidoptera of New York and Neighboring States.  Part 
     IV: Agaristidae through Nymphalidae Including Butterflies.  Cornell Univ. 
     Agricultural Experimental Station, Ithaca, N.Y.  Memoir 371.  188 pp.

Glassberg,  J.  1993.  Butterflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to 
     Butterflies in the Boston-New York-Washington Region.  Oxford Univ. Press, 
     New York, N.Y.  160 pp. 

Klass, C. and Dirig, R.  1992.  Learning about Butterflies.  Cornell Cooperative 
     Extension Publication, 4-H Member/Leader Guide 139-M-9.  Ithaca, N.Y.  
     36 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.      

Shapiro, A.M.  1974.  Butterflies and Skippers of New York State.  Cornell Univ.
     Agricultural Experimental Station, Ithaca, N.Y.  Search 4:1-60.   
Edwards' Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii)
distribution map
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