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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Buckthorn Hairstreak
Satyrium saepium  BOISDUVAL, 1852
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Tribe -
Satyrium saepium, Kern Plateau, Sierra Nevada, USA  Frank Model
Introduction
Almost all neotropical and North American Theclinae species are placed in the Eumaeini. The tribe is not especially well represented in collections, so for a long time many remained unstudied and were inappropriately filed away in the 'convenience' genus Thecla. Many taxonomists have attempted to rationalise the systematics of the Eumaeini, the most recent being Robbins who published a revision in 2004, reclassifying the taxa into 83 genera. Currently there are 1058 known species. Taking into account their small size, secretive behaviour, and the great similarities between many species, it is estimated that about another 200 species probably remain to be discovered.
There are 64 described species in the genus Satyrium, which has at various times been known by the synonyms Neolycaena, Nordmannia, Pseudothecla and Strymonidia. The genus occurs across the temperate, sub-arctic and subtropical regions of the northern hemisphere.
In North America there are 13 Satyrium species, All have grey or brownish-grey undersides. Some species such as titus have a row of prominent black post-median spots. Others including saepium lack the spots and have a 'hairstreak' line across the wings. All Satyrium species have earthy brown uppersides, and in the case of saepium this is overlaid with a metallic coppery-bronze sheen.
Satyrium saepium is found in British Colombia, and in the western USA.
Habitats
This species is found in chaparral and in open areas of deciduous forest and pine woodland.
Lifecycle
The eggs are greenish-white, dome shaped, finely reticulated, with a conspicuous micropyle. They are laid singly on twigs, leaves and buds of Ceanothus ( Rhamnaceae ). The caterpillars are of the typical louse-like Thecline shape, and are pale green, with 4 sets of diagonal white bars along the side of each segment, and a white dorsal stripe. The pupa is pale brown inn colour, marked with tiny black blotches.
Adult behaviour
Males perch on bushes at the top of hills, to await and intercept passing females. Both sexes nectar at a wide range of flowering plants.
 

 

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