Butterflies of Mexico,
USA & Canada
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
male, Nine Acre Corner, Concord, Massachusetts, USA
© Frank Model
current classification of the genus Lycaena
is unsatisfactory and in need of revision. The genus is loosely
split into several unofficial groupings, which ultimately will be
classified as sub-genera or new genera. Under existing
classification there are about 70 Lycaena
species, variously distributed across temperate regions of the
world. There are 17 species in North America.
hyllus have prominent black spots on the forewings, but in
males these are suffused and vestigial. At certain angles when
viewed in sunlight males have a pink or purplish iridescence.
At lower altitudes and across most
of its range hyllus has 2 broods, in
June and August. In colder regions and at higher altitudes it
produces a single generation in late July.
is found in the northern and eastern states of the USA, and in
This species inhabits wet meadows, marshes and the shores of lakes
The egg is
greenish-white and is laid singly on the leaves, petioles or stems
of various species of dock Rumex or
bistort Polygonum ( Polygonaceae ). The
egg overwinters and may be submerged for several weeks. The larva
hatches in early spring and feeds on the leaves, resting on the
under-surface of the leaf. When fully grown it is yellowish-green,
with a yellow-edged dark green line along the back. The pupa is pale
yellowish-brown, speckled with dark brown.
perch with wings held half-open on dock leaves and other low
vegetation, ready to intercept passing females. Both sexes nectar at a
wide range of plants, favouring Asteraceae.