Home / Gossamer-Winged (Lycaenidae) / Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus)

Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus)


Juniper Hairstreak

The Juniper Hairstreak is a North American butterfly that is found in many subspecies or races, some of which may even be separate species. They can be seen flying in meadows, fields, and clearings during the summer months.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Lycaenidae
  • Genus: Callophrys
  • Common names: Olive hairstreak
  • Scientific Name: Callophrys gryneus


Description and Identification


Juniper Hairstreak Caterpillar

The larvae are dappled green with a pale stripe running vertically through the middle of the dorsal side with dull yellow spots on both sides of the stripe. A pale yellow subspiracular stripe also runs along the length of the caterpillar’s body.


The chrysalis of the eastern races is light brown with black mottles, whereas those of the western races are dark brown.

Adult Butterfly

Sexual Dimorphism: Varies between subspecies

Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, they display a widespread and variable look, depending on the race or subspecies. The dorsal side of the western population has a dull red-brown (for male) to tawny (for female) hue with a dark brown costa and wing borders. Similarly, the dorsal side of the eastern population is deep brown with an olive green luster in the males, and a blackish brown hue in the female. When the wings are closed, the underside of the western population is rust-red on the forewings and dull to bright green with uneven white line bordered inwardly in reddish brown in the secondary wings. Both the sexes have a green underside with the primary wings having a tawny base, and the secondary wings having a pair of white marks close to the base with uneven white line edged inwardly with a reddish brown hue.

Male Juniper Hairstreak
Female Juniper Hairstreak

Average wingspan: 1 to 1¼ inches (2.6 – 3.2 cm)

Flight pattern: Fast


Juniper Hairstreak Eggs

Spherical pale green eggs with uneven white ridges laid singly on the tips of host plant leaves

Quick Facts

DistributionEast in Texas, and West, in Montana, North Dakota, and Nebraska south to southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Baja California
HabitatOld fields, bluffs, barrens, juniper, and pinyon-juniper woodlands,and cedar breaks
Species or RaceOlive juniper hairstreak (C. g.gryneus), Sweadner’s juniper hairstreak (C. g. sweadneri), Siva juniper hairstreak (C. g. siva), Nelson’s juniper hairstreak (C. g. nelsoni), Muir’s juniper hairstreak (C. g. muiri), Loki juniper hairstreak (C. g. loki), Thorne’s juniper hairstreak (C. g. thornei)
Lifespan of adultsUnknown
Host plantsRedcedar, California juniper (J.californica), Utah juniper (J.osteosperma)
Adult dietFlower nectar

Did You Know?

Earlier, the western and the eastern populations were considered separate species, but have later been found to hybridize.

Juniper Hairstreak Butterfly
Juniper Hairstreak Habitat
Callophrys Gryneus

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Scientific Classification

  • Family: Lycaenidae
  • Genus: Callophrys
  • Common names: Olive hairstreak
  • Scientific Name: Callophrys gryneus
Published by Avatar on July 19, 2019.
Last Updated: July 29, 2023. ✅ Verified by: Butterfly Team