New Jersey Butterflies

Hoary Elfin

Callophrys polios

Identification: Tiny—size of Eastern Tailed-Blue. Almost never seen with wings open. Below: FW and HW brown, darker toward the base of the HW, with frosting on margins of both FW and HW. Similar hairstreaks: Frosted Elfin has frosting only on HW, and has dark spot near HW tails that Hoary lacks. Brown Elfin completely lacks frosting.

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. Classified as Special Concern in NJ. Rare and very local in Ocean and Burlington counties. Formerly reported from Atlantic and Middlesex counties.

NJ Range Map-Hoary Elfin

Habitat: Open areas in close proximity to the food plant.

Flight Period: Late April to early June. Extreme dates: South Jersey 3/30—5/25.

Larval Food Plants: Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi).

Overwintering Stage: Pupa.

Best Locations: Penn SF, Bamber Lake, Warren Grove RA, Lakehurst.

Comments: Bearberry is a reasonably common ground cover in the Pine Barrens but only a few colonies are known to support Hoary Elfin.



Hoary Elfin

Warren Grove RA, Ocean Co., NJ, 4/14/12.


Bearberry Flower

Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), which is the main host plant for Hoary Elfin. This ground-hugging shrub is locally common in the NJ Pine Barrens.