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Frosted Elfin Callophrys irus


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Frosted Elfin
credit: Geoff Gallice/CCSA

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Family: Lycaenidae, Gossamer-wing Butterflies view all from this family

Description The Frosted Elfin (Callophrys irus) is a species of Lycaenidae that is native to North America.

The wingspan ranges from 22–24 mm (0.87–0.94 in), hindwings have one short tail. The top side of the wing is brown, males have long oval dark spots on the leading edge of their forewings. The hindwings have submarginal black spots above the tail and below the postmedian line is faint.

Dimensions 7/8-1 1/4" (22-32 mm).

Life Cycle There is one flight from March–April in the south which occurs between mid May to early June in the north. Females will lay eggs singly on flower buds. The caterpillars eat both the flower and the developing seedpods. Chrysalids hibernate in loosely formed cocoons beneath litter below the plant. Larval foods include the pea family (Fabaceae), indigo (Baptisia tinctoria), lupine (Lupinus perennis), and rattlebox (Crotalaria sagittalis).

Habitat Forests & woodlands, Meadows & fields, Scrub, shrub & brushlands.

Range Florida, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Texas, New England, Plains, Southeast.