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Butterflies of West Virginia -- Callophrys [Incisalia] polios

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of West Virginia

Hoary Elfin (Callophrys [Incisalia] polios)
JPG -- species photo

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.

References:

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:

Allen, T.J. 1997.  The Butterflies of West Virginia and Their Caterpillars.  
     University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA.  388 pp. 

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.
Hoary Elfin (Callophrys [Incisalia] polios)
distribution map
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