Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops) (Fabricius, 1793)

Diagnosis: This is a very distinctive, mid-sized (wingspan: 22 to 36 mm) hairstreak with an iridescent blue patch on the hindwing upperside. It gets its name from the red band crossing the grey-brown hindwing underside. This line is edged on the outside by thin black and white lines.

Range: A southeastern U.S. butterfly that strays north to Michigan and Minnesota, it has been recorded only once in Canada, a female taken by A.R. Brooks at Limerick, Saskatchewan, on 1 August 1955 (Hooper, 1973).

Similar Species: There are no species in Canada that might be confused with cecrops.

Early Stages: The larva is olive green, with fine brown hairs and a blue-green stripe down the back. It has been reported in the U.S. feeding on plants such as croton (Croton spp.) that do not occur in Canada. It is unusual in that it mostly feeds on leaves that have fallen to the ground.

Abundance: This species is fairly common in its southern U.S. range. It is a very rare stray in Canada.

Flight Season: It flies from April to October in most of its U.S. range, but should not be expected in Canada until later in the summer, when the second brood sometimes migrates north.

Habits: The Red-banded Hairstreak is mostly seen flying around woods edges and in shrubby fields.

Remarks: This hairstreak could be looked for in southern Ontario during years of large butterfly migrations, particularly at Point Pelee. The single Canadian specimen is damaged from mounting but looks freshly emerged, which casts some doubt on the authenticity of the record. The specimen is in the Canadian National Collection in Ottawa.

© 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.