Banded Hairsteak Satyrium calanus

Easily the most common spring Hairstreak on high cycle years. Seemingly vanishes after May. Several of the Hairstreaks have the gray-brown base color with the streaking bands. Note in this Banded the absence of any orange capping on the blue spot. I have seen some with a faint cap there. (See other Bandeds below.) This and the thick bands separate it from all but the Hickory and the Edward's. Edward's has circular spots instead of square bands. The Hickory is trickory. Or something like that. Confounds even the experts. Supposedly two strong hindwing tails = Banded. But also the blue spot usually extends more deeply (though variable) up to twice the depth of the orange and black hindwing spot.

Glassberg's separation by the postmedian band having white on both sides in the Hickory is not reliable as you can see here. Hickories have as much variation it seems. Scott's specimen images picture only  the male Hickory. And he shows broadening spaces on the forewing outer band. He does not picture a Banded equivalent to our local version in his Eastern Guide. It is also possible that in north Arkansas Hickories may not emerge before late May at the earliest.

Another typical Banded for our area. Headed down, they often perch in any position possible. Seems to have the widening forewing band of the Hickory type but a very limited blue incursion.

Probably a male, having his way with a Susan. Narrowed forewing band. Very limited blue incursion.

From the boom boom boom year of 2007 from Petit Jean. These were vermin that year. Two tails and limited blue incursion. Very consistent (nonexpanding) forewing band. Note the almost Edwardsian spots on the hindwing here but the very Banded forewing.

Also from the boom year of 2007. This one from Stone county. All the hairstreaks that morning were coming out on the sand road to sun in the 45 degree temperatures. Note the hint of an orange cap here on the very limited blue. Orange significantly greater than black in orange spot = Banded. And note the totally different placement of bands from the above specimen though are both almost certainly Bandeds.

And Petit Jean spring April 2012 version. Very nonexpansive forewing upper band. And strong orange on the hindwing with almost equal white lines over the blue and adjacent spot.

And look out for this guy. Those hindwing exterior spots are straight off an Edwards' Hairstreak. This does occur in the one subspecies of Banded. Unfortunately, no other features are consistent with Edwards'. And I seriously doubt Edwards' ever have forewing upper bands like this. Hickory likely never has this circular spotting. That is also too much space between the rows on the forewing and the main band block for Edwards'. Also Edwards' has quite a bit of orange consistently below that bottom hindwing slash. This has almost none.

And Norm again, searching through his archives with a shot from around 2010. Another unusually white circled "Banded". Glassberg apparently recently came out with another discussion about Edward's Hairstreak. Personally I don't find the extent of orange in the largest hindwing spot consistent. I don't see enough orange inside the forewing outer band. Several authors describe the orange sword along the bottom of the hindwing as very prominent in Edward's. The spots in the forewing should also be very rounded. I think this is a Banded imitator again.

The thing about Edward's (and we have no modern shots of one in the state) is that they have very specific habitat requirements. They possibly only fly for one week in any location. Here they likely use Blackjack Oak, Quercus velutina. But only in open rocky habitats with nearby colonies of the ant, Formica integra, which tends to the caterpillars. Ants construct conical hill-like shelters at the base of trees (called byres). The caterpillars feed at night. The adults nectar infrequently.

It is likely an endless discussion without taking them to a microscope which Glassberg still does not approve of. I have personally never dissected any butterflies.

And the only Hairstreak in the north counties I shot that seemed to come close to qualifying for the Hickory Hairstreak (Satyrium caryaevorum). The Hickory was only split from the Banded in 1942. It is likely very local and cyclical. In 1992 in Canada Layberry reported seeing over a thousand nectaring on one Basswood tree. Uses Shagbark and Bitternut Hickory and possibly also Black Ash. The captive cats will eat oak but this may not be true in the wild. They do have boom years. The problem is they tend to stay high up in the canopy of the trees. They do associate with Bandeds and males have aerial dogfights in the trees.

This shot was taken in late May. Strong blue spot with minimal dark capping. Posterior hindwing spots almost Edwards-like is sometimes seen in the Hickory. Strong white on both sides of all bands. And no orange under lower hindwing margin stripe. I have taken many Banded shots. This one is unique. Once again, the genitalia under a scope are diagnostic.

Compare Rose's April 2012 HS from Marion county (likely significantly too early for Hickory). Massive but short blue spot, pretty good second tail extension. Strong top and bottom white barring on spots on hindwing. Fairly nonexpansive upper forewing bars. Has some different features from our more southern specimens but likely still falls on the Banded side of things.