Hoary Elfin (Callophrys polios [Cook & Watson])
Wing span: 7/8 - 1 1/8 inches (2.2 - 2.9 cm).
Identification: No tails. Upperside is orangish brown; underside brown. Forewing with outer margin of "frosted" white; irregular postmedian line is white. Outer half of hindwing is "frosted" light gray.
Life history: Males perch on plants in sunny clearings and low spots to look for females. Eggs are laid singly on leaf buds or flower pedicels. Chrysalids hibernate.
Flight: One flight from April-June.
Caterpillar hosts: Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) in the heath family (Ericaceae); probably trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers including leatherleaf, pyxie, wild strawberry, and willow.
Habitat: Open sunny glades in barrens, rocky ridges, dunes, forest edges, adjacent to bogs.
Range: Very local distribution. Maine south to New Jersey, south in Appalachians to Virginia; west across Great Lakes states and southern prairie provinces; north to Alaska. Along Pacific Coast to northern California; south in Rocky Mountains to northern New Mexico.
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:
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. Clark, A.H. and Clark, L.F. 1951. The Butterflies of Virginia. Smithsonian Miscellaneous collection No. 116:1-239. 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. Woodbury, E.N. 1994. Butterflies of Delmarva. Delaware Nature Society, Inc., Tidewater Publishers, Centreville, MD. 138 pp. [NOTE: this book only treats True Butterflies (Papilionoidea). It does not treat Skippers (Hesperioidea).]