Coral Hairstreak (Satyrium titus) (Fabricius, 1793)

Diagnosis: The Coral Hairstreak is the only tailless hairstreak in most of its Canadian range. It has a dark brown upperside; most females have a row of orange spots near the outer margin of the hindwing. The forewing is more pointed in males than in females. The light brown underside has a row of coral red spots along the hindwing margin and a row of white-circled black dots above the red spots. Wingspan: 23 to 33 mm.

Subspecies: The nominate subspecies titus is found throughout most of the Canadian range. In the Prairies, subspecies immaculosus, with the underside black spots reduced and obscure, replaces subspecies titus. An overlapping band of intermediate forms between the two subspecies occurs in Manitoba (Klassen et al., 1989).

Range: Widespread across most of the U.S., the Coral Hairstreak is found in eastern Canada, from the Quebec City area through southern Quebec and Ontario. It occurs westward from Lake Superior across the southern Prairie Provinces and into the Peace River area of Alberta and British Columbia, with some scattered records in interior British Columbia.

Similar Species: None in Canada.

Description of this image follows.
Coral Hairstreak (Satyrium titus titus). Kanata, Ont. P.W. Hall

Early Stages: The larvae are most often recorded on wild plums and cherries (Prunus spp.), feeding on developing fruits, but have also been reported on Saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia) and oaks (Quercus spp.) (Klassen et al., 1989). The yellowish-green larva is covered in downy hairs and has three reddish blotches on the back, two near the front and one near the rear.

Abundance: In the east, it can be locally common and is considered the most common hairstreak in Manitoba (Klassen et al., 1989); in most areas it is uncommon.

Flight Season: This is a single-brooded species, flying from late June to late August in most of its Canadian range. It is most common in July.

Habits: The Coral Hairstreak is an avid visitor of flowers such as milkweed, often with other hairstreaks. It frequents open meadows and roadsides and flies very rapidly before alighting.

© 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.