Who knew some butterflies like to consort with conifers? Talk about habitat specific! Most butterflies are choosy about their host plants, but the Juniper Hairstreak, Callophrys gryneus has the most unlikely taste for the Eastern Red-cedar. With only two broods occurring in late April – late August, this green, gossamer winged butterfly takes a bit of effort to find, but is well worth the search. Its diminutive size and perfect camouflage-coloring make this butterfly the Holy Grail of hairstreaks. Smaller than a dime, Juniper Hairstreaks live, breed, and brood amongst the boughs of junipers in Southern, Ohio. They only leave long enough to nectar on nearby plants, or to seek out fresh Red-cedar in which to start a new colony. John Howard provided this photo and he is not only a fantastic photographer, but also a great guide for searching out junipers and their corresponding hairstreaks.
The frigorific winds may be drifting snow around the evergreens outside, but some nice folks in Shawnee Parks and the Shawnee Nature Club are already planning a big butterfly event in August 2008. It is certainly fun to dream about butterflies on a winter day; watch for the upcoming details on the Flora-quest butterfly web page.