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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Sagebrush Sooty Hairstreak
Satyrium semiluna  KLOTZ, 1930
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Tribe -
Satyrium semiluna, Montana, 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. The patterning varies considerably from one species to another. Some species such as californica have a row of prominent black post-median spots. In others these are replaced by the fine lines that give "hairstreaks" their colloquial name. Additionally there are two species semiluna and fuliginosa that have dull brown uppersides and Polyommatine-like spots on the undersides, such that they could quite easily be mistaken for female 'blues'.
Satyrium semiluna is found in the western USA, in California, Washington, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Wyoming and Montana.
Habitats
This species is hilly areas of sagebrush, and open dry meadows in areas of pine forest.
Lifecycle
The larval foodplant is Lupinus ( Fabaceae ).
Adult behaviour
Males perch on bushes or flowers to await and intercept passing females. Both sexes nectar at a wide range of herbaceous flowers.
 

 

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