Gold-hunter's Hairstreak (Satyrium auretorum [Boisduval])
Wing span: 1 - 1 1/4 inches (2.5 - 3.2 cm).
Identification: Hindwing with 1 short tail. Upperside of male light reddish-brown; female with yellowish tinge. Underside of hindwing with dark crescents near outer margin. Spot near tail is dull orange with a black center.
Life history: Males perch on top of trees and sometimes patrol for females. Eggs are laid singly on stems and hibernate until spring. Caterpillars feed on tender young leaves.
Flight: One flight from May-July.
Caterpillar hosts: Several species of oak (Quercus).
Adult food: Flower nectar including milkweeds.
Habitat: Oak hillsides and chaparral.
Range: California west of the Sierra Nevada, Transverse Range, and deserts, from Mendocino County south to San Diego County and into Baja California Norte.
Conservation: The Santa Monica Mountains Hairstreak (subspecies fumosum) is highly localized and threatened by urbanization in southern California.
Management needs: Protect habitat of remaining colonies of subspecies fumosum.
Emmel, T. C. and J. F. Emmel. 1973. The butterflies of southern California. Science Series 26. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, California. 148 pages, 10 color plates. New, T. R., editor. 1993. Conservation biology of Lycaenidae (Butterflies). Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 8. IUCN, The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland. 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