North American Butterflies and Moths List

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U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Texas

King's Hairstreak (Satyrium kingi)
JPG -- species photo

King's Hairstreak (Satyrium kingi [Klots & Clench])

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

Identification: Hindwing with 1 long and 1 short tail. Underside light brown; hindwing margin indented above second tail; tail-spot blue with an orange cap.

Life history: Eggs are laid singly on host twigs and hatch the next spring. Caterpillars feed on leaf buds and leaves.

Flight: One flight from May-June.

Caterpillar hosts: Common sweetleaf (Symplocos tinctoria), the only North American native of the sweetleaf family (Symplocaceae).

Adult food: Allegheny chinquapin and sourwood are the only reported nectar sources.

Habitat: Hardwood hammocks, wooded streams, swamp edges.

Range: Maryland south along the Atlantic coastal plain and Gulf states, west to eastern Texas.

Conservation: Listed as a species of special concern in several states. Populations and their habitats should be conserved where found.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G3 - Very rare or local throughout its range or found locally in a restricted range (21 to 100 occurrences). (Threatened throughout its range).

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:

Neck, R.W. 1996. A Field Guide to Butterflies of Texas. Gulf Publishing Co., 
     Houston, Texas.

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. 

Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. 
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.
Tveten, J. and Tveten, G.  1996.  Butterflies of Houston & Southeast Texas.
     Univ. of Texas Press, Austin, TX.  292 pp.
King's Hairstreak (Satyrium kingi)
distribution map
map legend

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