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Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Banded Hairstreak

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The dusky brown and gray Banded Hairstreak typically rests with its wings closed up, showing off its lustrous white streaks, red-orange bands, and an iridescent blue spot.

Updated: 08/26/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Like many Hairstreaks, the Banded Hairstreak is a mix of brown and gray. They usually only display the tops of their wings when they are flying. When perched, the silvery lines along the underside of the wings are hard to miss. The Banded Hairstreak has a large, light blue spot at the bottom edge of its hindwing. This blue spot rarely has an orange cap on the inner edge, but it is possible to see one there. Above and below this blue spot are bands of red-orange bordered in black with a thin line of white. Two tails extend from the bottom edge of each hindwing; one is short and the other is really short. Adults visit flowers for nectar and can be found fluttering in fields and meadows. Males challenge other males in flight, but quickly return to their perch awaiting females to pass by.

The caterpillar for this species is green, chubby, and covered in short white bristles. It may have pink patches at both ends as well as on its back. It becomes more orange and brown as it matures and prepares to pupate. Oak and hickory leaves are food plants, so this species can be found feeding in a variety of places like parks and forest edges.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Patterned insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Lycaenidae
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          Genus: Satyrium
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            Species: calanus

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Satyrium calanus
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 25mm to 32mm (0.98" to 1.25")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; gray; black; orange; blue; silver; white; red
Descriptors: orange; blue spots; silver streaks; white; flying

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 25mm (1.0in) and 32mm (1.3in)
Lo: 25mm
Md: 28.5mm
Hi: 32mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Banded Hairstreak may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Banded Hairstreak. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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