Callophrys hesseli (Rawson and Ziegler, 1950)
NatureServe Global Rank: G3G4
Virginia State Rank: S1
VA DGIF Tier: III
Federal Legal Status: None
Virginia Legal Status: None
Description: Hessel's Hairstreak is a small butterfly that is mostly gray on the dorsal side, with varying reddish brown patches. The ventral side is largely iridescent green with various brown, gray, white and black markings, mostly nearer to the outside edges of the wings.
Similar species: Hessel's Hairstreak is very similar to the Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus), both dorsally and ventrally. The ventral side illustrates the differentiating characteristics between the two. The first detail to look for is the amount of brown shading displayed around the white spot-lines on both wings. Hessel's Hairstreak has these spot-lines surrounded by brown coloration, while Juniper Hairstreaks have a combination of green and brown surrounding these markings. The first white spot in the front wing appears toward the apex on Hessel's Hairstreak, while it remains in line on the Juniper Hairstreak. The white-spot line on the hind wing is better lined up in the Juniper Hairstreak while the spots are more sporadic in the Hessel's Hairstreak. The third white spot down from the leading edge of the hind wing is displaced and convex toward the base of the wing in Hessel's, while the same spot is straighter and more or less in line on the Juniper Hairstreak. The white spot on the trailing edge of the hind wing is convex toward the base in the Hessel's and concave or straight in the Juniper Hairstreak.
North American Range: It is found from Maine to Florida, along the coast and sandhills but is also found locally and exists mainly in isolated populations.
VA Observations by Locality: Chesapeake, City of | Suffolk, City of | Suffolk, City of
Flight season and broods: There are two broods in Virginia, the first April - May and the second July - August.
Habitat and Food Plants: Hessel's Hairstreak is restricted to Atlantic White Cedar Swamps, usually in bay forests, pocosins and sandhills seeps and stream edges. They host on the Atlantic White Cedar.
Behavior and Ecology: Hessel's Hairstreak can be difficult to observe in their habitat. They spend most of their time in the canopy of the tall Atlantic White Cedar trees. Occasionally they come down to the ground to seek nectar from plants like Clethra and Sand Myrtle, and may also imbibe moisture from damp earth.
Population trend and potential threats: This species exists solely in a rare habitat and should be monitored wherever found. Atlantic White Cedar was extensively logged which has had adverse effects upon the distribution of Hessel's Hairstreak. Continued destruction of their rare habitats will surely continue to negatively affect the species.
Management practices: Preservation of Atlantic White Cedar Swamps is the main concern with keeping this species secure. A few programs to replant this species have been undertaken.
References: Cech, R. and G. Tudor. 2005. Butterflies of the East Coast. Pg. 250. Princeton University Press.
Opler, P. A. 1992. A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies. Peterson Field Guides
Pyle, R. M. 1981. Field Guide to North American Butterflies. National Audubon Society.
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, 600 E. Main St., 24th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219
This atlas was compiled
by the VA Natural Heritage Program with funds provided by the VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries through a state wildlife grant
from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Last Modified: Tuesday, 24 January 2017, 10:12:03 PM