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Montana Field Guides

California Hairstreak - Satyrium californica


Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glasberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.4-1.6 cm. Tailed. Uppersurface gray-brown with smudged orange marks on hindwing. Undersurface generally gray-brown (sometimes paler or darker), with round or oval black postmedian spots, an extensive series of submarginal orange spots especially on hindwing, blue patch by tail capped with orange, black bar basal to tail spot full-"V" chevron-shaped.

Phenology
One flight; mid-June to early August (Scott 1986). Late May to mid-August, mainly June to mid-July (Glassberg 2001). Late June to July in Colorado and Wyoming (Ferris and Brown 1981), early May to early September in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002), early June to early August in British Columbia and Oregon (Guppy and Shepard 2001; Warren 2005).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by undersurface with round or oval black postmedian spots, an extensive series of submarginal orange spots especially on hindwing, blue patch by tail capped with orange, black bar basal to tail spot full-"V" chevron-shaped.

Species Range
Montana Range

Click the legend blocks above to view individual ranges.
 


Range Comments
Southern British Columbia south to northern Baja California, southeast through western Wyoming to southern Colorado (Scott 1986; Opler 1999; Glassberg 2001); 1829 m to 2560 m elevation in Colorado and Wyoming (Brown 1957; Ferris and Brown 1981), 274 m to 2438 m elevation in Oregon (Warren 2005). In Montana, no records prior to 2005, reported from Gallatin, Park, and Sweet Grass counties since 2005 (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database). Uncommon to common (Glassberg 2001).

Migration
Non-migratory.

Habitat
Oak woodland, chaparral, sagebrush steppe, foothills, canyons, open woodland (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). Habitat in Montana not described but likely similar.

Food Habits
Larval food plants include Amelanchier, Ceanothus, Cercocarpus, Prunus, Purshia, Quercus, and Salix (Scott 1986, 1992; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002; Warren 2005; James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Achillea, Aesculus, Apocynum, Asclepias, Ceanothus, Cirsium, Eriogonum, Euphorbia, Holodiscus, Hymenopappus, Marrubium, Melilotus, Mentzelia, Polygonum, Potentilla, Rhus, Rudbeckia, Sedum, Solidago, Tetradymia) and mud (Guppy and Shepard 2001; James and Nunnallee 2011; Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females usually lay eggs in small clusters of 2-5 eggs (sometimes singly) in crevices and small holes on host plant twig, cemented with copious clear glue (Scott 1986, 1992). Eggs hatch in about 5 days (depending on temperature) after overwintering, L1 instars develop to L4 and pupae in 14 days, adults eclose (emerges from pupae) in another 12 days; development from egg-laying to adult eclosion about 31 days (James and Nunnallee 2011). Eggs hibernate, larvae build no nest, feed on leaves or flower buds, attended by ants (especially Formica pilicornis) (Scott 1979; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males perch on tops of hilltop trees 2-6 m tall to await females, sometimes patrol (Scott 1975b, 1986).

References
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Citation for data on this website:
California Hairstreak — Satyrium californica.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from