Floridata Article

Sweadners Hairstreak (Mitoura sweadneri)

Sweadners Hairstreak
Habitat: Diminished! Garden Abundance: Very rare Wingspan: 0.8 to 1.2in Range: Coastal and inland areas of central Florida supporting southern red cedar. Larval Host Plants: Southern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) Favorite Adult Nectar Sources: Shepherd's needles (Bidens alba)

Appearing almost identical to the Olive Hairstreak (Mitoura gryneus), this small butterfly is of conservation concern due to its diminishing range in Florida. Completely dependent on southern red cedar, its sole larval host, the hairstreak requires intact stands of mature trees to maintain a viable colony. Adults have a rapid, somewhat erratic flight and spend most of their lives residing high up on host branches. This somewhat sedentary behavior and preference for location often makes detection difficult. The butterfly?s wings above are dark brown with amber patches. The hindwings below are greenish-brown with numerous white markings and two short hair-like tails. The sexes are similar. Adult females deposit the tiny light green eggs singly on leaves of southern red cedar.

The slug-like larva is green with white striping and wonderfully camouflaged against the dark green color of the host leaves. The compact pupa is chocolate brown and generally attached loosely to the host or loose on the ground. Several generations are produced each year.

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