North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Tennessee

Eastern Pine Elfin (Callophrys [Incisalia] niphon)
JPG -- species photo

Eastern Pine Elfin (Callophrys niphon [Hübner])

Wing span: 1 - 1 1/4 inches (2.5 - 3.2 cm).

Identification: Tailless. Upperside dark brown; female with dark borders. Underside banded with dark brown; hindwing with submarginal gray band outside row of black crescents.

Life history: Males perch on tops of pine trees in the sun to find receptive females. Eggs are laid singly on new needles of young trees; caterpillars feed on the needles. Chrysalids hibernate and adults emerge in the spring.

Flight: One flight from March-June.

Caterpillar hosts: Various hard pines including scrub pine (Pinus virginiana) and jack pine (P. banksiana), and the soft white pine (P. strobus).

Adult food: Nectar of many different flowers including blueberry, cinquefoil, chickweed, common milkweed, and white sweet clover.

Habitat: Areas with small to medium pines such as forest openings and edges, and old fields.

Range: Nova Scotia west to eastern Alberta; south to northern Texas, the Gulf Coast, and northern Florida.

Conservation: Not usually required.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may 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:

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.      
Eastern Pine Elfin (Callophrys [Incisalia] niphon)
distribution map
map legend

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