North American Ecology (US and Canada)
occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Southern Canada south to Florida and Texas.
Comments: Mostly forested or at least woodland, but sometimes tall shrub bogs, scrub etc. Described as ravines and streamsides in woody scrub for the extreme southwest of range (Opler, 1999). Many authors note forests, woods or occasionally barrens. Schweitzer considers this perhaps the most forest limited butterfly in southern New Jersey where it was largely overlooked for more than a century by elfin collectors working scrub and barrens. Habitat varies with local foodplant prefrence. In much of interior USA a species of more or less rich forest with redbud; mostly with hollies on Atlantic coast. Observations of single adults or habitats where the species is "very rare" probably refer to wandering females.
Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: > 300
100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Comments: Old literature often called it rare, but this reflected ignorance of the habitat. This species is often locally common and is by far the most common elfin in some areas such as Ohio, Appalachia and most of the coastal plain south of Atlantic County, New Jersey. Becoming much more common in southern New England and around Ottawa, Canada due to a recent host expansion to introduced RHAMNUS.
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Callophrys henrici
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Very widespread and rather common in some areas. While this species is of conservation concern in a number of states and provinces, overall it is presently quite secure in large portions of the coastal plain, the Appalachians and parts of the Midwest. Subspecies margaretae and solatus may be rare.
Intrinsic Vulnerability: Not intrinsically vulnerable
Environmental Specificity: Moderate. Generalist or community with some key requirements scarce.
Comments: A given population will be highly restricted to a single larval foodplant (genus or species) and usually more or less restricted to forest or woodland, but otherwise this species is not usually an extreme habitat specialist, although it often is a bit more specialized in terms of habitat than merely needing foodplnat. If viewed overall one could conclude this is a generalist but it is not in any given region.
Other Considerations: This species has in the past been widely overlooked. Reports of it being very rare in a region generally can be interpreted to mean no one has yet discovered the local foodplant and habitat and that only wandering individuals are being found.
Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)
Comments: Increasing in some northern areas as it adapts to exotic Rhamnus foodplants but declining in others due to habitat loss.
Global Long Term Trend: Increase of 10-25% to decline of 30%
Degree of Threat: Medium
Biological Research Needs: At a local level knowing the actual foodplant would be critical if this species were of concern.
Global Protection: Many to very many (13 to >40) occurrences appropriately protected and managed
Comments: Does not require a high degree of protection or usually any active management so most occurrences in any kind of preserve or National Park etc. qualify. Many National forest populations are more or less protected as well.
Needs: Basically protection of habitat, conservative use of fire or better no fire, and probably also protection from gypsy moth spraying although its sensitivity to Btk is not actually known.
Henry's Elfin (Callophrys henrici), sometimes called the Woodland Elfin, is a North American butterfly in the family Lycaenidae. In Canada it is found from southern Manitoba to southern Nova Scotia. It has two main groups of populations in the USA: the first is found along the Atlantic Coast and uses various hollies (Ilex) as host plants; and the second is found mainly in the north and the Appalachians where they use Redbud (Cercis canadensis) as a host plant. Henry's Elfin is increasing in New England because of an introduced buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) it now uses as a host plant.
The upper side of the wings is a dark brown color. The underside of the wings is strongly two-toned with the basal area being dark brown-black. The hind wing postmedian line has white at both ends. The outer edge of the hind wing is frosted and the outer edge of the fore wing is sometimes green-toned. The hind wing has tails that are short and stubby. In the south east, these tails are longer. The male lacks a stigma. Henry's Elfin's wingspan measures 20 to 25 mm (0.79 to 0.98 in)
The Frosted Elfin is slightly larger, males have a stigma, the underside of the hind wing has more frosting, and there is usually a dark spot near the hind wing outer margin.
The Brown Elfin is more reddish-brown, males have a stigma, it lacks hind wing tails, and the underside of the hind wing has no frosting.
The Hoary Elfin is smaller, males have a stigma, it lacks hindwing tails, the underside of the hind wing outer margin is completely frosted, and the fore wing outer margin is also frosted.
Males perch at about human eye level to await females.(Males will sometimes perch high in tree tops or will perch very low to the ground). Females lay their eggs singly on the host plant flower buds or on host plant leaves near the buds. The eggs are pale green but turn a whitish color before hatching. The larva is quite variable. It varies from greenish-yellow to red-brown to maroon. It has subdorsal spots that may be white, yellow, green, or red-green and has a lateral stripe which may be yellow or a reddish color. Some individuals have a faint yellow or reddish middorsal stripe. The pupa is orange-brown and is mottled with a dark brown-black color. The pupa hibernates in leaf litter. Henry's Elfin has 1 brood per year.
Here is a list of host plants used by Henry's Elfin:
- Texas Mescalbean, Calia secundiflora
- Redbud, Cercis canadensis
- Texas persimmon, Diospyros texana
- Black Huckleberry, Gaylussacia baccata
- Dahoon Holly, Ilex cassine
- American Holly, Ilex opaca
- Yaupon Holly, Ilex vomitoria
- Texas Bluebonnet, Lupinus texensis
- Wild Plum, Prunus americana
- Pin Cherry, Prunus pensylvanica
- Black Cherry, Prunus serotina
- Northern Highbush Blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum
- Dryland Blueberry, Vaccinium pallidum
- Vaccinium vacillans
- Maple-leaf Viburnum, Viburnum acerifolium
- Black Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula, Rhamnaceae)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Callophrys henrici.|
|Wikispecies has information related to: Callophrys henrici|
- James A. Scott (1986). The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA. ISBN 0-8047-2013-4
- Henry's Elfin, Butterflies of Canada
- Rick Cech and Guy Tudor (2005). Butterflies of the East Coast. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. ISBN 0-691-09055-6
- Jim P. Brock and Kenn Kaufman (2003). Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin, New York, NY. ISBN 0-618-15312-8
- Ernest M. Shull (1987). The Butterflies of Indiana. Indiana Academy of Science. ISBN 0-253-31292-2
- David L. Wagner (2005). Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. ISBN 0-691-12144-3
- Thomas J. Allen, Jim P. Brock and Jeffrey Glassberg (2005). Caterpillars in the Field and Garden. Oxford University Press, New York, NY. ISBN 978-0-19-514987-6
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Given the regional foodplant specialization (see Gatrelle, 1999c for a review) it is possible this is a complex of sibling species, but evidence of multiple species is basically lacking at least east of Texas. Foodplants in Texas include at least species of Ungnadia,Sophora, Diospyros, Lupinus but some literature is vague regarding which subspecies are involved. The first three are normal foodplants. Otherwise, south of about Latitude 42 North, in a given area there is one primary or exclusive foodplant genus, so the foodplant races are essentially allopatric. Farther north foodplant claims vary and generally local foodplants are unknown. Some often repeated northern foodplant genera such as Prunus and Vaccinium need modern verification. The named so-called subspecies are mostly based on minor adult wing color differences and mostly do not correspond to any biological differences at least north of about Latitude 38 North. The most generally accepted subspecies is C. h. solatus from Texas, which is considered by some to be a separate species. C. h. margaretae which differs mainly in much longer tails, of peninsular Florida is also widely accepted. It is not clear that non-green form adults of "subspecies" viridissima have any reliable distinguishing feature and since most populations with this form have it as a minority form that "subspecies" is for now definable essentially as those Ilex feeding populations from along Delaware Bay in New Jersey to coastal North Carolina in which the frequency of green adults is not zero. That would apparently leave most holly feeding populations in southern coastal plain New Jersey as subspecies henrici. As with almost all tailed Theclinae, populations from the southeastern United States where arboreal lizards are prevalent (yahweus, margaretae) have longer tails than others. As these taxa are now defined by Gatrelle (1999), holly (Ilex spp.) feeding populations occur in subspecies henrici, viridissima (as redefined by Gatrelle), yahwehus, and margaretae. The last three are apparently entirely Ilex feeders and have no known significant biological differences among them other than some regional specialization within Ilex. Redbud (Cercis) feeding populations are also very widespread and this is the foodplant for most populations of turneri and for some populations now treated as typical henrici based on wing characters according to Gatrelle. Gatrelle would place Ontario populations in turneri based on the minor wing color characters. If that is accepted, he extends this "subspecies" well beyond redbud feeding populations. This would also mean two "subspecies" (henrici, turneri) adopted exotic Rhamnus as hostplants in the 1980s--in both cases from unknown native hosplants. If the Type of henrici really came from Philadelphia or nearby in Pennsylvania where the species has apparently always been quite rare, it was almost certainly from a redbud feeding population. If, as is quite likely, it really came from across the Delaware River in New Jersey where the species is common, it was a holly (Ilex opaca) feeder. Since the Type is not the green form its likely foodplant probably cannot be determined. A number of other foodplants are used by "subspecies henrici" of Gatrelle, including Nemopanthes (a close relative of Ilex) in at least eastern Canada, exotic Rhamnus in Massachusetts, redbud in and near Maryland and Pennsylvania, Ilex opaca widely in New Jersey and in Rhode Island with reports of several other genera in at least three other families mostly northward. As far as known green caterpillars vary more individually than by "subspecies". The red form could well be partly geographic since it apparently does not occur (except in prepupal larvae) in southern New Jersey holly feeders (Schweitzer) or West Virginia rebud feeders (Allen, 1997), and Layberry et al. (1998) report that Canadian larvae are green except shortly before pupation. It is unclear whether the red larval morph has any taxonomic significance. Both forms are nicely illustrated by Tveten and Tveten (1996) presumably both from Texas, and a green larva by Allen (1997). Because most of the subspecies are weakly defined and the characters used are mostly not concordant with foodplants northward, most information in this database will be found under the full species rather than the subspecies. A few recent authors use the generic name Deciduiphagus, which certainly appears to be a valid clade, and many mid 20th century works used Incisalia which probably should be restricted to the C. niphon group. The taxon solatus has not been carefully evaluated for this account. Dale Schweitzer
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