Being an aquatic entomologist, I rarely get the chance to look at many terrestrial insects, including the butterflies and moths (other than the aquatic moths in the family Crambidae). Being on the BIObus has been great for spending time looking for these popular and beautiful creatures. One of my favourite groups is the Hairstreaks, a subfamily within the Blues (Theclinae: Lycaenidae). These butterflies are small, graceful, and colourful, and are obliging enough to sit still to have the underside of their wings photographed. We’ve encountered a few species between Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park and Bahia Honda State Park, and I’d thought I would share!
The White M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album)
The caterpillars of these hairstreaks feed on oaks. We saw a few adults at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park.
The Red Banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)
We several of these at Kimmimmee Prairie as well, usually around the flowers of palmettos. The larvae apparently feed on rotting leaves.
The Mallow Scrub Hairstreak (Strymon istapa)
These were quite common at Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys, although they were difficult to spot amongst all the Cassius Blues.
The Fulvous Hairstreak (Electrostrymon angelia)
We saw a single specimen of this species at Collier Seminole State Park, near Naples, FL. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a photo. According to Brock & Kaufman’s (2003) guide to butterflies of North America, this species was introduced from West Indies in the 1970s and is now established in southern Florida.
The Little Metalmark (Calephelis virginiensis)
This Little Metalmark isn’t a blue; it belongs to the mostly tropical family Riodinidae. I couldn’t help but include it in this post, however, because they are such cool little butterflies with their metallic markings on the upper side of the wings. We spotted several at Kissimmee Prairie, but they didn’t seem to be abundant.