Butterflies of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance

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Scientific Name begins with:
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Once on a species account page, clicking on the "View PDF" link will show the flight data for that species, for each of the three regions of the state.
Other information, such as high counts and earliest/latest dates, can also been seen on the PDF page.

Related Species in LYCAENIDAE:
<<       >>
Common NameEarly Hairstreak by Dave Patton => 2015-08-05. Watauga County
[View PDF]
Click to enlarge
[Google Images]     BoA [Images ]
Scientific NameErora laeta
Link to BAMONA species account.
MapClick on a county for list of all database records for the species in that county.
DistributionDISTRIBUTION: Restricted in NC to the mountains, where it apparently occurs throughout the province mainly at higher elevations (over 4000 feet), but a few records below 3000 feet. In fact, a 2018 record from Madison County came from a site at an elevation of about 1300 feet!
AbundanceABUNDANCE: Rare, or at least seldom encountered; this is a real "prize" to find.
FlightFLIGHT PERIOD: Two broods; early April to mid- or late May, and mid- or late June to early August. Most likely to be seen in late April or the first ten days of July.
HabitatHABITAT: The species inhabits edges and openings in mid- to high elevation hardwood forests. Typical sites include edges of dirt roads and sunlit trails through northern hardwood forests, and hardwoods along the margins of rock outcrops. It is not an inhabitant of the shade of forest interiors.
See also Habitat Account for General Montane Mesic Forests
PlantsFOOD AND NECTAR PLANTS: The major foodplant in NC is apparently American Beech (Fagus grandifolia), but Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) has also been reported. The species nectars on many plants, but Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) and fleabanes (Erigeron annuus and E. strigosus) are most frequently used.
CommentsCOMMENTS: This is one of the rarest and most prized butterflies in the eastern United States. Part of its rarity can be explained by its habit of spending most of the day perched on leaves 20+ feet off the ground.

Early Hairstreaks can be searched for by walking along dirt roads (and probably also paved roads) at mid- to high elevations (over 3500 feet) through hardwood forests, examining flowers such as fleabanes and Oxeye Daisy along the edge of the road. They have also been seen at several overlooks near the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. As with most hairstreaks, the butterflies are very tame when nectaring and can be poked to observe the blue on the upper wings, though the bright aqua blue-green and scarlet of the under wings (on fresh individuals) is striking enough for easy identification. However, the green scales wear off quickly, and most individuals, even some not obviously worn, are gray below with scarlet bars (as in the photos on this website).

Prior to 2014, there seemed to be just one to several photos of this species taken in the state, of an individual in Mitchell County. Thankfully, Owen McConnell photographed one in Graham County on April 24, for a first county record; and Doug Allen photographed two on July 2 along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Haywood and Jackson counties. Excellent photos were taken of an Early Hairstreak by Dave Patton in 2015 in Watauga County, also documenting a first county record.
State RankS2S3
State StatusSR
Global RankG2G3
Federal Status
Synonym
Other Name


Links to other butterfly galleries: [Cook] [Lynch] [Pippen] [Pugh]
Photo by: Derb Carter
Comment: Madison County. 2018-Apr-11
Early Hairstreak - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Dave Patton
Comment: Watauga County. Pigeon Roost Road near Banner Elk. 2015-Aug-05
Early Hairstreak - Click to enlarge
Photo by: W. Cook
Comment: Mitchell Co., NC, near the Tennessee line, on 6 July 2002.
Early Hairstreak - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Doug Allen
Comment: 2014-July-02. Haywood County at or near mile marker 420.2 Balsam Spring Gap, elev. 5550
Early Hairstreak - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Doug Allen
Comment: 2014-Jul-02. Jackson County. Hairstreak was at Richland Balsam parking overlook, mile marker 431.4
Early Hairstreak - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Doug Allen
Comment: 2014-Jul-02. Jackson County. Hairstreak was at Richland Balsam parking overlook, mile marker 431.4
Early Hairstreak - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Owen McConnell
Comment: Graham Co. - 2014-Apr-24. worn
Early Hairstreak - Click to enlarge