The Western Pine Elfin

The western pine elfin (Callophrys eryphon) is a North American butterfly within the Arthropoda phylum, the Lepidoptera order, the Lycaenidae family, the Theclinae subfamily, the Callophrys genus and the Callophrys eryphon species. It ranges from British Columbia east to Maine and south to southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico. The wings are generally reddish-brown. The undersides of fore-wings and hindwings have very jagged dark submarginal bands. Males are brown and females are orange-brown, with both having bold patterned hind wings. The top of the wings have dark bars with a lighter chevron shaped margin. The body is three quarters of an inch to one and seven-sixtyfourths of an inch in length and has no tail. The wing span is typically one inch to one-and-three-eighths inches.
These butterflies are found in natural pine woods and evergreen forests in the territory they inhabit. In the northwest United States they are found nesting in lodgepole pines and can be seen perched on shrubs and smaller trees while searching for food. Males perch on shrubs and small trees to look for females. The western pine elfin is seldom seen outside its natural habitat. They feed on flower nectar including wild blueberries, milkweed, and clover. Caterpillars feed on young needles and catkins.
The chrysalids hibernate and adults emerge from the caterpillar hibernation stage and have one flight cycle in early spring from March to June and the female lays eggs on the base of new pine needles.
Caterpillar hosts include the young needles of hard pines including lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), limber pine (P. flexilis), and ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa); possibly black spruce.
Adult food for these butterflies consists primarily of flower nectar.
These insects’ preferred habitat is pine forests.

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