[TN-Butterflies] ephemeral elfins

As most of you know, all the hairstreaks known as elfins are spring-only
fliers in TN.  They usually appear by late March and fly though the
early part of May, seldom longer, so there is a fairly narrow window
within which to seek them.

 

The real rarity in this group is the Frosted Elfin, known in TN from
only one county (Madison, where Jackson is located), in so far as the
data at the BAMONA website are concerned.

 

Brown Elfin and Eastern Pine Elfin have been recorded in nine counties
each, the Brown mostly in East TN (6 counties) but also on the
Cumberland Plateau (3 counties) and the Eastern Pine from East TN (6
counties), eastern Middle TN (1 county), and West TN (2 counties).

 

Henry's Elfin has been documented in 16 TN counties, making it the most
likely elfin to encounter by those seeking elfins in TN.

 

Knowing the larval food plant(s) of the elfins might aid in finding
them.  Henry's Elfin seems to be a redbud specialist in TN, though it is
known to seek other food plants in other parts of its range.  The
Eastern Pine Elfin, as its name indicates, is a pine specialist, using
both hard pines (Virginia Pine) and soft pines (White Pine) in TN.
Brown Elfin uses the huckleberry and Labrador tea as host plants (not
sure if the latter even occurs in TN).  Frosted Elfin seeks several host
plants to lay its eggs; these include the pea family (Fabaceae), indigo
(Baptisia tinctoria), and lupine (Lupinus perennis); occasionally blue
false indigo (B. australis) and rattlebox (Crotalaria sagittalis) [data
from BAMONA website].

 

Here's hoping your elfin seeking this spring is successful, Steve
Stedman

Cookeville, Putnam County

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