Thursday, April 26, 2012


Hairstreaks are my favorite family of butterflies because of their color and delicacy. They are just common enough to be able to find but not so rare that you never see any. Actually they are a subfamily of Papilionoidea called Theclinae. The White-M Hairstreak from my previous blog is in this group.
A couple weeks ago I drove over to Mineral County to visit a Shale Barren that is a known location for Juniper Hairstreaks. As the name implies they are quite fond of juniper and red cedar, at least the larval stage is. Peterson’s Field guide even went so far as to suggest tapping on the tree to get them to show themselves. I was fortunate to find several of them flying. Like the White-M Hairstreak this one was easily caught in my net.
Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus)

I placed my finger in front of it like many people do with parakeets and it just climbed on. This photo was taken with a different camera and the color wasn’t adjusted as well. The first photo is more like the true color.
Last weekend on my way to a training class on butterflies I stopped at shale barren and found at least 15 or more Juniper Hairstreaks. This was the most I have ever seen at one location. While my traveling companion was taking a photo a female landed on her camera.

Notice how dark she is compared to the brighter and greener males.

You can see her on the tip of my index finger while I was taking a phto of the Sleepy Orange in the box.
I encouraged it to get on my finger and then I couldn’t get it off. I even shook my finger but she held on tight while I took a photo of a Sleepy Orange Sulphur. After a while I guess she satisfied her curiosity and had a fill of my sweat and flew away. They are quite remarkable critters.

I found lots of freshly emerged Eastern Tailed-Blues (Everes compyntas) that have tails similar to the Juniper Hairstreak. They were sipping in the mud and I didn’t get a good close up.

From there I found another butterfly similar to the Eastern-tailed Blue called a Silvery Blue. It does not have the tails but it is about the same size and if you aren’t careful you could mistake it for a Spring Azure or an Eastern Tailed Blue.

Silvery Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus)
Silvery Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus)


Woodswalker said...

So beautiful! I guess I should get a net and clear box if I ever hope to get such photos. My attempts to photograph butterflies almost always end in frustration.

Bennyboymothman said...

Great pictures, well done :)

Robin Armstrong Seeber said...

fabulous! I was able to net a cabbage white and a red admiral, but that was in PA, I was only practicing for my WV jaunts...they both sat on my finger...what a fun thing! always enjoy your postings.. robin

squirrel said...

Woodswalker, the photos in the clear boxes aren't really very good because the box gets scratched and dirty. I am just useing them because we are doing a survey and I don't want to miss anything. As you mentioned they are quick to fly away.

Robin, sounds like you are getting some good practice. Good luck with the survey.