Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Soapberry Hairstreak
Phaeostrymon alcestis (W.H. Edwards, 1871)


Family: Lycaenidae
Subfamily: Theclinae
Identification: Upperside plain deep brown. Underside of both wings have cells with narrow white bars outlined in black. Postmedian band white, bold, and jagged.
Wing Span: 1 - 1 1/2 inches (2.5 - 3.8 cm).
Life History: Males patrol for females around the canopy. Females lay eggs singly on host plant twigs. Eggs overwinter and hatch in spring; caterpillars feed on leaves.
Flight: One flight from April-July.
Caterpillar Hosts: Western soapberry (Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii).
Adult Food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Desert foothill canyons, prairie valleys, hedgerows, woodlands, roadsides.
Range: Northeastern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona east to Kansas, south to Texas.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
Comments: NULL
Alternate Scientific Names:
Phaestrymon alcestis

Pollinator Week was June 20-26, 2022!

Butterflies and moths are accidental pollinators of many flowering plants. While most species do not have special structures to carry pollen, they do brush against pollen and transfer it to other flowers.

Did you know? The Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) flies close to the ground and uses its short proboscis to probe flowers of wild strawberry, white sweet clover, and other low-lying plants.