|scientific name Callophrys augustinus (Westwood)|
common name Brown Elfin
A species of coniferous forest openings, with isolated prairie badlands populations.
One brood annually the flight period peaking in early May to early June.
There are two other elfin species with only a single, irregular line through the middle of the hindwing underside, the Hoary (C. polia), and Moss's (C. mossii). The Brown Elfin, however, has a reddish outer half of the hindwing underside, while the Hoary is grey and Moss's is brown in this respect. Brown Elfins also lack the white border to the ventral hindwing median line found in Moss's.
Most Alberta populations are the nominate subspecies, with subspecies iroides (Boisduval) inhabiting the southern mountain region. Iroides may in fact be a species separate from augustinus (Kondla 1999, Guppy & Shepard 2001).
Eggs are green when first laid, and hatch within about five days (Cook 1906). The larva varies from olive- to yellowish-green, with a yellow dorsal stripe and oblique bands (Layberry et al. 1998); it feeds on flowers and developing fruits (Cook 1906). The pupa is mottled brown and overwinters on the ground among plant litter (Cook 1906). Adults are one of the first butterflies to emerge in the spring, and stay close to patches of their larval foodplant.
Not of concern.
Larvae feed on plants of the heather family (Ericaceae), including blue- and cranberries (Vaccinium spp.)and labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum) (Bird et al. 1995), but most often associated with bearberry (Arctospahylus uva-ursi) in Alberta. Adults sip moisture from damp earth (Layberry et al. 1998) and nectar at bearberry flowers.
A boreal transcontinental species, found from Alaska to Newfoundland and south to Georgia in the east and northern Mexico in the mountainous regions of the west(Layberry et al. 1998, Opler 1999). Absent from most of the Great Plains (Opler 1999).
Comments are published according to our submission guidelines. The EH Strickland Entomological Museum does not necessarily endorse the views expressed.