New Jersey Butterflies

Red-banded Hairstreak

Calycopis cecrops

Identification: Very small—size of thumbnail. Almost never seen with wings open. Below: Gray-brown with bright red-orange band (edged in white outwardly) across both wings. Similar hairstreaks: Unlike any other NJ hairstreak.

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. Primarily a southern species that has recently appeared annually in northern counties. Common from Monmouth and Burlington counties south. Rare, but increasing, in northern counties primarily at low- to mid-elevations.

NJ Range Map-Red-banded Hairstreak

Habitat: Fields and meadows with wildflowers. Easily attracted to gardens with flowers such as goldenrod, sedum, and mints.

Flight Period: Late April to early November but most common in May-June and again in August-September. Usually does not appear in northern counties until late summer. Extreme dates: North Jersey 4/30—11/9; South Jersey 3/30—11/13.

Larval Food Plants: Sumacs, primarily Winged Sumac (Rhus copallina); Wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), and possibly oaks and others. Apparently feeds primarily on leaf detritus of food plants.

Overwintering Stage: 4th-instar caterpillar. Probably does not overwinter in northern counties.

Best Locations: Higbee Beach WMA, Cattus Island CP, Sandy Hook GNRA, Belleplain SF, Lizard Tail Swamp Preserve

Comments: Butterfliers in northern counties waited a long time for this, NJ's most tropical-looking hairstreak, to arrive.



Red-banded Hairstreak

Willowwood Arb., Morris Co., NJ, 9/2/07, on goldenrod.


Red-banded Hairstreak

Rockland, NY, 8/24/14, on goldenrod, showing blue color of dorsal side of wings.