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Callophrys affinis washingtonia Billberg, 1820
Green Hairstreaks; Immaculate Green Hairstreak
Family: Lycaenidae (Gossamer Wings)
Species account authors: Crispin Guppy and Jon Shepard.
Extracted from Butterflies of British Columbia.
Introduction to the Butterflies of BC
The Families of Lepidoptera of BC


© Betty Andres     (Photo ID #18403)


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Distribution of Callophrys affinis washingtonia in British Columbia.
(Click on the map to view a larger version.)
Source: Butterflies of British Columbia by Crispin Guppy and Jon Shepard © Royal BC Museum

Species Information


For the Immaculate Green Hairstreak, the undersides of the wings have an apple-green ground colour. The ventral hindwing has a median row of white spots arranged in a curved line. Often the white spots are weak or partially to almost completely lacking. The ground colour of the upperside of the female wing is tawny; that of the male is grey brown.

Immature Stages



BC populations are C.a. washingtonia Clench, 1944 (TL: Alta Lake, Okanogan Co., WA). This subspecies ranges south to eastern WA and northeastern OR.

Genus Description

The name Callophrys may be derived from the Greek kallos (beautiful) and ophrys (eyebrow). This likely refers to green scales on the eye (Emmet 1991). The common name refers to the green colour of the hindwings (Holland 1898).

This genus and the following three genera, Loranthomitoura, Mitoura, and Incisalia, are morphologically similar. Some authorities insist on combining them in one genus, Callophrys. Ballmer and Pratt (1992b) detail the anatomy of first instar larvae of these genera and show that this is a natural grouping but that the genera are separate. For all four, the male aedeagus is flared at the tip but lacks the ventral keel present in the genus Satyrium. There are two cornuti, both of which are dentate. The pair of valves are parallel along their entire length instead of divergent at the ends as in Satyrium. For all members of the genus Callophrys, the underside of the hindwing is some shade of green with a strong to weak white median line. The hindwings lack tails. The tips of the valves are not capped as in Incisalia, and the cornuti are slender. The genus is Holarctic, with at least seven species (Tilden 1963); two are found in BC (Clench 1963). The larvae of all BC members of this genus feed on buckwheat plants, Eriogonum spp.


The Immaculate Green Hairstreak flies from early May to early June. The earlier flight dates are dependent on how early the warm spring weather begins. The Immaculate Green Hairstreak almost always occurs in the same low-elevation habitat as Sheridan's Hairstreak, but begins to fly two to three weeks later. No one has determined whether the Immaculate Green Hairstreak completes its larval stages and spends the late summer and winter as a pupa, like Sheridan's Hairstreak, or whether the larva only partially completes its development the first year and then completes it the following spring. The larvae feed on plants of the genus Eriogonum, in the buckwheat family.


The Immaculate Green Hairstreak is found near Douglas Lake, east of Grand Forks, south of Trail, and along the entire Okanagan Valley floor in association with the larval foodplant, Eriogonum spp., usually in dry gullies.



The Immaculate Green Hairstreakas defined by Scott (1986b) ranges from the Southern Interior and West Kootenay of BC south through CA and NM to northern MEX.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)

BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

General References