Hoary Elfin (Callophrys polios)
Description: A small brown butterfly. The underside of the forewing is chestnut brown, becoming frosted with grey toward the margin, with a black transverse line and series of small black dots on the distal half. The hindwing is distinctly two-toned, the basal half is dark brown and the distal half grey frosted, or hoary. Henry’s Elfin has similar hoary markings on the hindwing though not as extensive. It can be distinguished by the small tails on the hindwing margin and the highly contrasting light outer half of the forewing underside. Wingspan: 19 to 26 mm.
Maritime Distribution: Widespread in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, one pre-Atlas record in Prince Edward Island. For Atlas results click here.
Provincial Ranks: NB: S3. NS: S4. PEI: S1.
Flight Period: Late April to mid June.
Host Plant: Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens).
Notes: This species is typically the earliest elfin to fly in the spring. It is usually found along wood roads and in clearings near its foodplants. The Hoary Elfin’s dark coloring and erratic flight make it difficult to follow. These factors, along with its early flight period, often result in the species being overlooked.