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Henry's Elfin (Callophrys henrici)

Description: A small brown butterfly. The upperside is dark brown, sometimes more orange basally. The underside of both wings are distinctly two toned, the basal half much darker than the apical half. The hindwing has a single stubby tail, and is otherwise quite scalloped. This is the only elfin in the Maritimes with a stubby tail and both the fore and hindwings distinctly two-toned on the underside. Wingspan: 20 to 25 mm.

Maritime Distribution: Southern New Brunswick, southern Nova Scotia, and Queens County on Prince Edward Island. For Atlas results click here.

Provincial Ranks: NB: S2S3. NS: S3. PEI: S1.

Flight Period: Early May to mid June.

Host Plant: Mountain Holly (Nemopanthus mucronata), various blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) and Glossy Buckthorn (Frangula alnus).

Notes: In the Maritimes, Henry’s Elfin is considered a rarity and is usually seen in much lower numbers than the other elfin species with which it flies. It is found in a variety of woodland and bog habitats where Mountain Holly (Nemopanthus mucronata) grows.

In Ontario this species has recently been found feeding on the exotic Glossy Buckthorn (Frangula alnus), allowing this typically hard to find species to colonize disturbed urban areas where this shrub thrives. In some areas this has coincided with an apparent increase in Henry’s Elfin numbers.