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Callophrys gryneus

The Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys [=Mitoura] gryneus)[1] is a butterfly native to North America. It belongs in the family Lycaenidae.


For a key to the terms used see Lepidopteran glossary

The Juniper Hairstreak has many subspecies or races, some of which may even be separate species. The upper side of the "Olive" Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus gryneus) is tawny orange or a bronzy color in males, and blackish brown in females. The underside of the wings is bright green with a variable amount of brown scaling. There are two white postbasal spots and a white zigzag postmedian line edged inward with brown on the hind wing.[1][2]

"Sweadner's" Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus sweadneri) is very similar to the gryneus race except the two white postbasal spots are reduced.[2]

The "Siva" Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus siva) is also similar to the gryneus race. It lacks the postbasal spots, the postmedian line is straight, and some individuals are brown. Intermediates of the gryneus and siva races occur in west Texas and New Mexico.[2][3]

The underside of "Nelson's" Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus nelsoni) is brown with a violet sheen; the white postmedian line is faint, sometimes partial or absent; and the postbasal spots are lacking.[2]

"Muir's" Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus muiri) is similar to the nelsoni race except the underside of the wings are a darker brown with a purplish-greenish tint, and the postmedian line is partial to complete.[2]

The underside of the "Loki" Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus loki) is green to purplish-brown. Inward of the white postmedian line, the hind wing often has a dark band.[2]

"Thorne's Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus thornei) is quite similar to the loki race except it usually lacks green more often being a violet-brown to a brownish-gray color.[3]

Similar Species[edit]

The Hessel's Hairstreak (Callophrys hesseli) is the only similar species in the Juniper Hairstreak's range. The Hessel's Hairstreak is similar to the gryneus and sweadneri races. It is often more of a blue-green color, the postmedian line is edged with brown on both sides, and it has a white spot near the fore wing costa.[1]


Habitats include bluffs, open fields, barrens, and dry or rocky open places. They are almost always found near or on junipers in these habitats.[1][3]

Nectar Plants[edit]

Both sexes visit flowers near the host plant, especially the sweadneri race.[1]

Life cycle[edit]

Males are highly territorial on cedar trees, where they perch in search of females. Often, males can be set in flight by gently shaking the trees. Females lay their eggs singly at the tip of host plant leaves.[1] The eggs are pale green with white ridges.[3] The larvae are vivid green with a faint middorsal stripe that begins at the thorax and runs down the abdomen. Whitish-yellow spots occur on either side of the middorsal stripe. A whitish-yellow subspiracular stripe (sometimes broken between segments) runs the length of the body.[4] The chrysalis of the gryneus race is brown to pale brown and is mottled with black with the abdomen being a bit reddish. Chrysalids of western races are dark brown. The Juniper Hairstreak overwinters as a chrysalis.[3] The gryneus race has 2 broods per year; sweadneri, 2 broods per year; siva, 2-3 broods per year; nelsoni, 1 brood; muiri, 1 brood; loki, 1-2 broods; and the thornei race has 1 brood per year.[2]

Host Plants[edit]

Here is a list of host plants used by the Juniper Hairstreak:


  1. ^ a b c d e f Rich Cech & Guy Tudor (2005). Butterflies of the East Coast. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. ISBN 0-691-09055-6
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Jim P. Brock & Kenn Kaufman (2003). Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin, New York NY. ISBN 0-618-15312-8
  3. ^ a b c d e f James A Scott (1986). The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. ISBN 0-8047-2013-4
  4. ^ David L. Wagner (2005) Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. ISBN 0-691-12143-5
  5. ^ Bob Stewart, Priscilla Brodkin and Hank Brodkin (2001). Butterflies of Arizona. West Coast Lady Press


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