Link Link Link

common name: redbanded hairstreak
scientific name: Calycopis cecrops (Fabricius) (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae)

Introduction - Distribution - Description - Life Cycle - Selected References

Introduction (Back to Top)

The redbanded hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops (Fabricius), is a very attractive butterfly and is one of our most common hairstreaks throughout the southeastern United States in dry open woods and wooded neighborhoods.

Adult redbanded hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops (Fabricius).

Figure 1. Adult redbanded hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops (Fabricius). Photograph by Jerry F. Butler, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida.

Distribution (Back to Top)

The redbanded hairstreak is found from Maryland to southeast Kansas to eastern Texas and throughout Florida. As a stray, it is occasionally found as far north as southern Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Description (Back to Top)

The wingspread of the adult is 24 to 30 mm. The under surface of the wings is gray-brown with a postmedial white line edged with a bright orange to red-orange band. Each hind wing has two tails (hairstreaks) with a relatively large conspicuous eyespot on the wing margin between the bases of the tails.

Eggs are dimpled white turning to tan as hatching approaches. Larvae are brown with a median dorsal longitudinal stripe and covered with a coat of short hairs. Spiracles are conspicuous as dark submarginal spots on the prothorax and abdominal segments one through eight. Pupae are hairy and are light brown mottled with darker brown or black.

Egg of the redbanded hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops (Fabricius).

Figure 2. Egg of the redbanded hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops (Fabricius). Photograph by Jerry F. Butler, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida.

Larva of the redbanded hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops (Fabricius).

Figure 3. Larva of the redbanded hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops (Fabricius). Photograph by Jerry F. Butler, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida.

Pupa of the redbanded hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops (Fabricius).

Figure 4. Pupa of the redbanded hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops (Fabricius). Photograph by Jerry F. Butler, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida.

Life Cycle (Back to Top)

There are several flights (May-October) in the northern part of the range and year round in Florida. Adults feed on nectar and sip from mud. Males perch on vegetation to await the arrival of females for mating. As with the other hairstreak butterflies, perching adults move their hind wings up and down. The tails on the hind wings with their associated eyespots resemble a head. The movement of the tails is believed to attract a potential predator's attention to that part of the wings which then is torn away allowing the butterfly to escape. This “false head” defense has been documented to be effective against the attacks of jumping spiders (Sourakov 2013).

Eggs are laid on the undersides of dead leaves on the ground beneath the host plants. Larvae are reported to feed on dead leaves and detritus in the leaf litter. However, at least in the laboratory, they will also feed on living foliage and flowers. Reported host plants include wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera L.) sumacs (particularly winged sumac, Rhus copallinum L.), crotons and oaks. Early fourth instar larvae overwinter.

Wax myrtle, Myrica cerifera L. (Myricaceae).

Figure 5. Wax myrtle, Myrica cerifera L. (Myricaceae). Photograph by Donald W. Hall, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida.

Winged sumac, Rhus copallinum L. (Anacardiaceae).

Figure 6. Winged sumac, Rhus copallinum L. (Anacardiaceae). Photograph by Donald W. Hall, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida.

Selected References (Back to Top)