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

Desert Elfin (Callophrys [Incisalia] fotis)
JPG -- species photo

Desert Elfin (Callophrys fotis [Strecker])

Wing span: 3/4 - 1 1/8 inches (1.9 - 2.8 cm).

Identification: Upperside gray; underside brownish gray. Base of hindwing darker, outer half gray to yellow-gray.

Life history: Males perch near host plants on trees and shrubs to wait for females. Eggs are laid singly on flower buds of the host; caterpillars feed on buds, flowers, and young fruits. Chrysalids hibernate.

Flight: One flight from March-June.

Caterpillar hosts: Cliff rose (Cowania mexicana var. stansburiana) in the rose family (Rosaceae).

Adult food: Not reported.

Habitat: In desert rocky canyons, hills, and scrub.

Range: Southeastern California, southern Nevada, central Utah, southwest Colorado, northern Arizona, and northwestern New Mexico.

Conservation: Not thought to be in need of conservation.

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: Not reported.


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

Desert Elfin (Callophrys [Incisalia] fotis)
distribution map
map legend

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