Butterfly: Wingspan: ¾ - 1inch (1.9 - 2.5 cm). Closed wings are pale minty-green with a band of red-orange spots. Wings are edged in red-orange. Open wings are charcoal gray with blue toward the wing base. No tails.
ID Tip: Ventrally, minty-green with irregular orange band. No tails.
Egg: Reportedly, pale green eggs are laid singly on buds, developing fruits, leaves and catkins.
Caterpillar: Yellow green to rusty brown with rusty brown patches on thorax and abdomen.
Chrysalis: Rusty brown with darker brown specks. The chrysalis is the overwintering stage.
Early Hairstreaks have been documented in Alabama only three times. All have been in Jackson County. One was encountered in April, 2004 near Holly Tree. It was nectaring on Beaked Corn Salad (Valerianella radiata), an abundant annual found along roadsides, woodland margins, and fields. The single female Early was in the company of Red-banded and Juniper Hairstreaks. In April 2014, a female was seen along a hiking trail at the Walls of Jericho, where it was photographed. Subsequent searches yielded no Early Hairstreak sightings. On April 2, 2020, a ten-year old boy fished one out of a pond near Paint Rock. He and his mother photographed it before it flew away.
Early Hairstreaks are among the Southeast’s most rarely encountered butterflies. Whether they are actually rare is unknown. Some believe that they spend their time high in the canopy of beech trees and only rarely descend to the ground. They may also be confused with Red-Banded Hairstreaks. When hiking in northeast Alabama's cove forests, keep an eye out for mint green hairstreaks. Much information is needed to understand the population dynamics and life story of this species in Alabama and throughout its range.
A dot on the county map indicates that there is at least one documented record of the species within that county. In some cases, a species may be common throughout the county, in others it may be found in only a specific habitat. The High Count information shows the highest numbers recorded for this species as well as when and where they occurred.
The sightings bar graphs depict the timing of flight(s) within each of three geographic regions. Place your cursor on a bar within the graph to see the number of individuals recorded during that period.
The abundance calendar displays the total number of individuals recorded within each week of the month. Both the graphs and the calendar are on based data collection that began in 2000.
The records analyzed here are only a beginning. As more data is collected, these maps and graphs will paint a more accurate picture of distribution and abundance in Alabama. Submit your sightings to email@example.com.
Sightings in the following counties: Jackson
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In or near mature Beech forests. May occur along trails, woodland edges, stream corridors and wooded roadsides.
American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) is most commonly reported, Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) is also listed.
No host plant has yet been verified in Alabama.
Click on individual photos to view a larger version that includes photo credits, county, and date.
Photos with comments are indicated by a small, tan dot on the bottom right.