New Jersey Butterflies

Eastern Pine Elfin

Callophrys niphon

Identification: Very small—size of thumbnail. Almost never seen with wings open. Below: Banded in various shades of brown with many small white check marks. Similar hairstreaks: Unlike any other NJ species.

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. Uncommon and local in North Jersey but fairly common in the Pine Barrens.

NJ Range Map-Eastern Pine Elfin

Habitat: Open areas adjacent to woodlands with host plants. Not your typical garden butterfly.

Flight Period: One brood from mid-April to early June. Extreme dates: North Jersey 4/11—6/8; South Jersey 3/13—6/12.

Larval Food Plants: Primarily White Pine (Pinus strobus) in North Jersey, and Pitch Pine (P. rigida) in South Jersey.

Overwintering Stage: Pupa.

Best Locations: Flatbrookville, Cheesequake SP, Jamesburg CP, Warren Grove RA, Dennisville RR, Woodland Twp. (Rt. 72).

Comments: Look for this attractive little butterfly in fields next to stands of White Pine and Pitch Pine. In North Jersey likes to nectar at early spring flowers such as spurges (Euphorbia spp.) and Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana).

Eastern Pine Elfin larva

Flatbrookville, Sussex Co., NJ, 5/11/08.

Eastern Pine Elfin larva