Hoary Elfin - Callophrys polios
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.1-1.3 cm. Tailless, sexes similar. Uppersurface gray-brown; undersurface of forewing with irregular dark-edged divide and white postmedian line, white frosted-looking marginal region with embedded brown submarginal spots, hindwing inner 1/2 dark brown, outer third frosted with a series of embedded submarginal brown spots.
One flight; late April to mid-June in northern range and higher elevations, April to mid-May in southern range (Scott 1986). April to mid-June (Glassberg 2001). Early May through June in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978), late March to early June on Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002), late April through May in Oregon (Warren 2005), mid-April to early June in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001).
Best determined by the undersurface of forewing with dark-edged divide and irregular white postmedian line, white frosted-looking marginal region with a series of embedded small submargial brown spots, hindwing inner 1/2 dark brown, outer third frosted with a series of embedded submarginal brown spots (as on forewing).
Much of boreal North America from northern Alaska to southeastern Canada, south in the Rocky Mountains to northern Utah and northern New Mexico, south along the Pacific Coast to northern California, south in the eastern US central Appalachian Mountains to Virginia (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); 1645 m to 3048 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978; Ferris and Brown 1981), near sea level to above 1220 m elevation in Oregon (Warren 2005). In Montana, reported from the montane western 1/2 of the state, but also in pine woodland areas in the southeast (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993). Locally uncommon to locally common over much of range, locally rare in Oregon and Washington (Glassberg 2001).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Where host plant occurs in open areas along conifer forest edges, bogs, rocky ridges, barrens, dunes, roadsides (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001, Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002). In Glacier National Park, Montana, reported from above treeline in alpine terrain (Debinski 1993), but this may be an error.
Larval food plants include Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (the primary host plant) and Epigaea repens (Scott 1986, 1992; James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Arctostaphylos, Barbarea, Penstemon) and mud (Pyle 2002; Scott 2014).
Females lay eggs singly on host plant flower pedicels, base of leaf buds, on underside or edges of leaves (Scott 1986, 1992). Eggs hatch in 5-9 days, L1 instar larvae feed on flowers and leaves, molt to L2 instar in about 6 days, to L3 instar about 11 days post egg-hatch, to L4 instar about 16 days post egg-hatch. Mature L4 instar departs host plant and seeks shelter, pupates in protected site 25-29 days post egg-hatch. Pupae overwinter, adults eclose quickly in spring as soon as conditions permit (3-6 days). Larvae do not build nests, are not gregarious (Scott 1979; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males perch throughout the day low on vegetation in open areas and along trails near host plant, awaiting females (Scott 1975b, 1986).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Brown, F.M. 1957. Colorado Butterflies. Proceedings; Numbers Three through Seven. Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver, Co.
- Debinski, D. 1993. Butterflies of Glacier National Park, Montana. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History, the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. No. 159: 1-13.
- Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown (eds). 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountains. Univ. of Oklahoma Press. Norman. 442 pp.
- Glassberg, J. 2001. Butterflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Western North America. Oxford University Press.
- Guppy, C.S. and J.H. Shepard. 2001. Butterflies of British Columbia: including western Alberta, southern Yukon, the Alaska Panhandle, Washington, northern Oregon, northern Idaho, northwestern Montana. UBC Press (Vancouver, BC) and Royal British Columbia Museum (Victoria, BC). 414 pp.
- James, D.G. and D. Nunnallee. 2011. Life histories of Cascadia butterflies. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press. 447 p.
- Kohler, S. 1980. Checklist of Montana Butterflies (Rhopalocera). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 34(1): 1-19.
- Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Second edition. Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 540 pp.
- Pyle, R.M. 2002. The butterflies of Cascadia: a field guide to all the species of Washington, Oregon, and surrounding territories. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington. 420 pp.
- Scott, J.A. 1975b. Mate-locating behavior of western North American butterflies. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 14:1-40.
- Scott, J.A. 1979. Hibernal diapause of North American Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 18(3): 171-200.
- Scott, J.A. 1986. The butterflies of North America: a natural history and field guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
- Scott, J.A. 1992. Hostplant records for butterflies and skippers (mostly from Colorado) 1959-1992, with new life histories and notes on oviposition, immatures, and ecology. Papilio new series #6. 185 p.
- Scott, J.A. 2014. Lepidoptera of North America 13. Flower visitation by Colorado butterflies (40,615 records) with a review of the literature on pollination of Colorado plants and butterfly attraction (Lepidoptera: Hersperioidea and Papilionoidea). Contributions of the C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthopod Diversity. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University. 190 p.
- Scott, J.A. and G.R. Scott. 1978. Ecology and distribution of the butterflies of southern central Colorado. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 17(2): 73-128.
- Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies: including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Unpubl. Report. Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado 275 pp.
- Warren, A.D. 2005. Lepidoptera of North America 6: Butterflies of Oregon, their taxonomy, distribution, and biology. Contributions of the C. P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Colorado State University. Fort Collins, Colorado. 406 pp.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Allen, T.J., J.P. Brock, and J. Glassberg. 2005. Caterpillars in the field and garden: a field guide to the butterfly caterpillars of North America. Oxford University Press.
- Brock, J.P. and K. Kaufman. 2003. Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY 284 pp.
- Debinski, D. M. 1991. Inventory and monitoring of biodiversity: an assessment of methods and a case study of Glacier National Park, MT. Ph.D. Dissertation. Montana State University, Bozeman. 205 p.
- Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. LaFontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press. 280 pp. + color plates.
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