Subject: Which “Blue” is this butterfly?
Location: Swarthmore, PA
October 15, 2016 2:24 pm
Am I crazy, or did I just find a pair of Dusky Blue Groundstreaks in PA? A bee came along and startled them before I could really focus well, but the pattern is pretty distinctive. Butterfliesandmoths.org says they range from Venezuela to South Texas, and can stray to Kansas. Unless I’m mistaken these guys are doing some serious exploring.
Signature: Tam Paulits
Based on images posted to BugGuide, we are going to go with Red Banded Hairstreaks, Calycopis cecrops, a similar looking species in the same genus as the Dusky Blue Groundstreak. According to BugGuide: “Underside of both wings is dark grey with a red band crossing postmedian (i.e., more towards the back edge of the wing than the body). Above, some bright blue is visible in flight.” BugGuide also notes: “Eggs are laid on fallen leaves. They feed on detritus and on leaves of plants in the families Fagaceae, Anacardiaceae and Malvaceae. They feed on Mango (Mangifera indica), Brazilian Pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius), Winged Sumac (Rhus copallina), and other trees.” According to the Butterflies and Moths of North America, the range is: “Southeastern United States from Long Island south through Florida, west through entire area to southeast Kansas, eastern Oklahoma, and eastern Texas. Strays to eastern Nebraska, northern Illinois, and Michigan.” We only have two images of Red Banded Hairstreaks in our archive, and both were submitted in 2007. Because we must be away from the office for several days, we will be post-dating your submission to go live at the end of the week.
Thanks so much! Proof that I’m an amateur. Thanks for providing the expert input!