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Red-banded Hairstreak     Calycopis cecrops

The Red-banded Hairstreak is one of the most common hairstreaks found in the southeastern United States.  It is found throughout all of Florida, where adults are found year round, but are more abundant in spring and fall.

These butterflies are medium-sized, having a wingspan around 1-1.25 inches.  The upper surfaces of the wings is black in males and bluish-black in females.  The lower surfaces are gray-brown with a postmedial white line edged with bright orange or reddish-orange bands.  Each hind wing has two tails (all hairstreaks) with a relatively large eye spot on the wing margins between the bases of the tails.  When perching, they move their wings up and down; thus the hind wings with the associated eye spot may resemble a head.  The movement of the tails is believed to attract a potential predator’s attention to that part of the wings, which may be torn away, allowing the butterfly to escape.

These butterflies are unusual in that they lay their eggs on dead leaves of various shrubs and trees laying on the ground.  Favorite leaves include those of oaks, Wax Myrtle, Brazilian Pepper, and Mangos.  The resulting caterpillars then feed on the dead leaves.

All of the photos on this page were taken in the Babcock-Webb WMA, which is located in Charlotte County.