Thicket Hairstreak (Callophrys spinetorum) (Hewitson, 1867)

Diagnosis: The Thicket Hairstreak has a distinctive steel-blue colour with wide dark margins on the upperside. The underside is red brown with a prominent black-edged white line in the middle of both wings; the line forms a "W" above the hindwing tail. Wingspan: 23 to 30 mm.

Subspecies: Only the nominate subspecies is found in Canada.

Range: Widespread throughout the mountains of the western U.S. into Mexico. In Canada, it is found in interior and southeastern British Columbia and in southwestern Alberta north to the Bow River Valley.

Specimen collection data

Similar Species: Johnson's Hairstreak (C. johnsoni) is similar on the underside but has no blue above. [compare images]

Early Stages: The green larva has an olive stripe down the back with red, white, and yellow stripes on each well-defined ridge. It has only been recorded feeding on dwarf mistletoes (Arceuthobium spp., Viscaceae), which are parasites of a variety of conifer species, mostly pines.

Abundance: This species is fairly common in southern British Columbia but rare in Alberta.

Flight Season: The Thicket Hairstreak has been recorded in British Columbia from April to June, and in Alberta mainly in July.

Habits: Adults often sip nectar from flowers close to coniferous forests where their foodplant grows. Males regularly perch on the tops of trees (Scott, 1986).

© 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.