Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Frosted Elfin
Callophrys irus (Godart, [1824])


Family: Lycaenidae
Subfamily: Theclinae
Identification: One short tail on the hindwing. Upperside brown; male with long oval dark spot on leading edge of forewing. Below, postmedian line of forewing is irregular; that of hindwing is faint. Hindwing with submarginal black spot above tail.
Wing Span: 1 - 1 1/4 inches (2.5 - 3.2 cm).
Life History: Eggs are laid singly on flower buds of host plant; caterpillars eat flowers and developing seedpods. Chrysalids hibernate in loose cocoons in litter beneath the plant.
Flight: One flight from March-April in the south, May-June in the north.
Caterpillar Hosts: Members of the pea family (Fabaceae) indigo (Baptisia tinctoria) and lupine (Lupinus perennis); occasionally blue false indigo (B. australis) and rattlebox (Crotalaria sagittalis).
Adult Food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Open woods and forest edges, fields, scrub.
Range: Occurs in local colonies from Maine west across New York and southern Michigan to central Wisconsin; south along Atlantic coast and Appalachians to Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Isolated colony in eastern Texas, northwest Louisiana, and southwest Arkansas.
Conservation: Populations are often small and local. Callophrys irus hadros of east Texas is particularly limited.
NCGR: G3 - Very rare or local throughout its range or found locally in a restricted range (21 to 100 occurrences). (Threatened throughout its range).
Management Needs: Maintain habitat by controlled burns or other physical means.
Comments: NULL

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