New York Natural Heritage Program
Red-banded Hairstreak
Calycopis cecrops (Fabricius, 1793)

Identifying Characteristics [-]
The undersurface of the wings is gray-brown with a postmedial white line edged with a bright orange to red-orange band. Each hind wing has two tails (hairstreaks) with a relatively large conspicuous eyespot on the wing margin between the bases of the tails and the wingspan of the adult is about 1.0". Caterpillars are brown with a median dorsal longitudinal stripe and are covered with short hairs (Hall and Butler 2010).

Characters Most Useful for Identification [-]
This species' small size, ventral red postmedian band, dark grayish wings with a dorsal iridescent blue color in flight is diagnostic.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]

Behavior [-]
Males perch on shrubs and small trees watching for females. Females lay eggs singly on the underside of fallen leaves near the host plant. Caterpillars feed on leaves and buds and detritus (Cech and Tudor 2005). Chrysalids and fourth-stage caterpillars hibernate. Newly emerged individuals occasionally sip moisture from puddles on trails (Opler and Krizek 1984).

Diet [-]
Caterpillar hosts: fallen leaves of wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), dwarf sumac (Rhus copallina), staghorn sumac (R. typhina), and several oaks. Primarily associated with R. copallina on Long Island. Adult food: flower nectar from yarrow, wild cherry, tickseed, sunflower, sumac, sweet pepperbush, New Jersey tea, common milkweed, and dogbane (Opler and Krizek 1984).
Red-banded Hairstreak Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
Shapiro (1974) reported the species to be double brooded on Staten Island, with a flight season from July through October while Glassberg (1993) provided data from the New York City area on two flight periods: early May to late June and late July through October. Sightings from Fiore and Wallstrom (2003-2006) are also in line with Glassberg's flight seasons. Individuals remain active throughout the day, but late afternoon is the period of greatest activity (Cech and Tudor 2005).
Present Active
The time of year you would expect to find Red-banded Hairstreak present (blue shading) and active (orange shading) in New York.
Similar Species
  • Coral Hairstreak (Satyrium titus)
    Several other Hairstreaks are superficially similar, but none have a red band entirely across the wings.