Hedgerow Hairstreak (Satyrium saepium) (Boisduval, 1852)

Diagnosis: The distinctive feature of this small (wingspan: 26 to 30 mm) western hairstreak is the bright coppery-brown colour of the upper surface of the wings. Markings on the dull brown underside are faint and irregular, but usually include a postmedian band and a blue spot on the margin of the hindwing. There is a short tail.

Subspecies: Throughout most of its range, there is only the nominate subspecies, which is found inthe Kootenay area of British Columbia. However, subspecies okanaganum is found in the Okanagan Valley and the lower Fraser River Valley.

Range: The Hedgerow Hairstreak occurs through most of the western U.S., but in Canada it is restricted to southern British Columbia.

Similar Species: None in Canada.

Early Stages: The larva is light green covered with short golden hairs. It has light stripes along the body and yellowish chevrons between the stripes. It feeds on buckbrush (Ceanothus spp., Rhamnaceae).

Abundance: This species is local and uncommon in Canada.

Flight Season: In southern British Columbia adults fly from June until August.

Habits: This is a butterfly of drier mountain slopes and foothills, including brushy wooded areas where buckbrush occurs.

© 2002. This material is reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.