Brown Elfin (Callophrys augustinus [W. Kirby])
Wing span: 7/8 - 1 1/8 inches (2.2 - 2.9 cm).
Identification: No tails. Upperside of male gray-brown; female reddish brown. Underside chestnut brown with dark, irregular postmedian line; hindwing darker at base.
Life history: Males perch on shrubs in open areas to watch for females. Eggs are laid singly on flower buds of host plants; caterpillars feed on flowers and fruits. Pupation takes place in litter at the base of the host plant; chrysalids hibernate.
Flight: One flight from May-July in the north, March-April in the south.
Caterpillar hosts: In the East, members of the heath family (Ericaceae), including sugar huckleberry (Vaccinium vacillans) and Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum). In the west, many other plants including madrone (Arbutus) and dodder (Cuscuta).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers including blueberry, footsteps-of-spring, spicebush, willow, winter cress, and wild plum.
Habitat: Mixed conifer woods, barrens, bogs, sandy coasts, chaparral.
Range: Newfoundland north and west through northern United States and the prairie provinces to Alaska; south in Appalachians to northern Georgia and northern Alabama; south through western mountains to northern Baja California. Does not occur on the plains or in the Midwest.
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.