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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Juniper Hairstreak
Callophrys gryneus  HÜBNER, 1819
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Tribe - EUMAEINI
Callophrys gryneus Great Blue Hill, Massachusetts, USA © Frank Model
Introduction
There are about 30 Callophrys species, the most widespread of which is the Green Hairstreak rubi, which is distributed across most of Europe and temperate Asia. There are 9 other species found in temperate Asia, and one restricted to Spain and North Africa. In North America there are a further 25 species, of which 7 are found in Mexico. Only 2 species are found further south, one of which is endemic to Guatemala.
The upperside wings of all Callophrys species are dull earthy brown in both sexes although several including spinetorum, estella, dospassosi and guatemalena have a blue iridescence. The undersides of some species are marbled in shades of brown and/or greyish-brown, but the majority of species are iridescent green. Most species are marked with a white 'hair streak' line across both wings, but this is highly variable within a given species, and may be broken into a series of dashes or dots, or entirely absent. Almost all species have a slight lobe at the anal angle of the hindwings, and a few species possess short filamentous tails.
Callophrys gryneus is a very widespread insect with 15 recognised subspecies found variously in south-west Canada, across most of the USA, and in northern Mexico.
Habitats
This species occurs in a vast range of habitats, including deserts, grassland, coniferous forest and almost anywhere else where juniper grows.
Lifecycle
The eggs are pale green and are laid singly on the twigs and young leaves of shrubs in the family Cupressaceae i.e. Juniperus, Thuja, Calocedrus and Cupressus. The Californian subspecies nelsoni apparently oviposits on Tsuga heterophylla ( Pinaceae ). The larva is mid-green, marked on each segment with oblique white dashes. It is superbly camouflaged against the young green twigs of the foodplants. The pupa is smooth and rounded, and brown in colour.
Adult behaviour

Males spend most of their time perching on juniper bushes, where their green colouration affords them excellent camouflage. Females are more often seen when visiting flowers. They nectar at a wide range of plants including Senecio and various Asteraceae and Apiaceae.

 

 

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