Home / Gossamer-Winged (Lycaenidae) / Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

The Red-banded Hairstreak is a captivating species of medium-sized butterfly, distinguished by its simplistic yet beautiful coloration. These butterflies are indigenous to select regions within the United States, showcasing a unique presence across their range. Depending on the geographical location, they can be observed throughout the year or predominantly between April and October, marking them as a subject of interest for both enthusiasts and researchers alike.

Red-banded Hairstreak

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Lycaenidae
  • Genus: Calycopis
  • Scientific Name: Calycopis cecrops


Characterized by their distinctive appearance and behavior, Red-banded Hairstreaks contribute significantly to the biodiversity of their habitats. Their life cycle, from egg to adult, reveals fascinating aspects of adaptation and survival. This guide delves into the details of each stage of their development, alongside providing insightful quick facts and tips for identification, enriching the understanding of this remarkable species.

Description and Identification


The mature larva of the Red-banded Hairstreak exhibits a dull gray-brown hue, segmented with a subtle olive green line bisecting its body. Each segment is marked by a faint, dark dot at both ends, a characteristic feature of this stage.


Transitioning into the pupa stage, the chrysalis takes on a light brown color, peppered with dark, irregular spots. Its structure is notably differentiated, with a thinner upper part and a thicker, segmented lower portion.

Adult Butterfly

Sexual Dimorphism: Sexual dimorphism is not observed in this species, making males and females visually similar in appearance.

Color and Appearance: With wings unfurled, the adults display a light brown upper side, while the hindwings reveal a gradual blue tint. The underside is marked by a grayish brown color, highlighted by a white postmedian line edged with vibrant reddish-orange, and two tail-like extensions on the hindwings.

Male Red-Banded HairstreakFemale Red-Banded HairstreakAverage Wingspan: The wingspan of an adult Red-banded Hairstreak ranges from 0.9 to 1.25 inches (23 to 32 mm), a size that contributes to their distinctive flight pattern.

Flight Pattern: These butterflies are known for their fast yet erratic flight, a behavior that adds to the challenge of observing them in their natural habitats.


Eggs are laid singly on the underside of fallen leaves, in proximity to the host plants, a strategic choice that ensures the survival of the larvae upon hatching.

Quick Facts

DistributionSoutheastern United States
HabitatForest edges, densely-vegetated fields, coastal hammocks
Lifespan of AdultsUnknown
Host PlantsPrefers fallen leaves of sumac species, among other trees
Adult DietFlower nectar

How to Identify Red-banded Hairstreak?

Identifying a Red-banded Hairstreak requires a keen eye for detail. Observers should look for the distinctive reddish-orange edged white postmedian line on the underside of the wings, a feature that is particularly visible when the wings are closed. The presence of two tail-like extensions on the hindwings is another key identifier. The variability in wing coloration, from light brown when open to grayish brown when closed, alongside the erratic flight pattern, distinguishes them from similar species. Their preference for flying low to the ground and near their host plants can also aid in identification. Familiarity with their habitat, such as forest edges and densely vegetated fields, further increases the likelihood of spotting these enchanting creatures.

Did You Know?

  • The caterpillar stage of the Red-banded Hairstreak is often mistaken for brown slugs due to its appearance and slow movement.
  • This species plays a crucial role in pollination, visiting a variety of flowers for nectar, thereby contributing to the health of their ecosystems.
  • Despite their widespread distribution, certain populations are considered rare and are monitored for conservation status.


The Red-banded Hairstreak is more than just a butterfly; it is a testament to nature’s intricacy and the delicate balance within ecosystems. From its humble beginnings as a camouflaged caterpillar to the subtle elegance of its adult form, each stage of its life cycle offers a glimpse into the marvels of natural adaptation. Observing these butterflies in their natural habitat not only provides a sense of wonder but also underscores the importance of conservation efforts to preserve the biodiversity of our planet.

Red-banded Hairstreak Pictures

Red-banded Hairstreak Butterfly
Calycopis Cecrops
Red-Banded Hairstreak Images

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Scientific Classification

  • Family: Lycaenidae
  • Genus: Calycopis
  • Scientific Name: Calycopis cecrops
Published by Avatar on May 6, 2019.
Last Updated: February 22, 2024. ✅ Verified by: Butterfly Team