E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Satyrium behrii columbia Scudder, 1876
Behr's Hairstreak; Hairstreaks
Family: Lycaenidae (Gossamer Wings)
Species account authors: Crispin Guppy and Jon Shepard.
Extracted from Butterflies of British Columbia
The Families of Lepidoptera of BC
Introduction to the Butterflies of BC
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Distribution of Satyrium behrii columbia in British Columbia
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Species Information


Behr's Hairstreak is easily identified by the tawny orange of the upperside of the wings and the wide black area on the costal area of the dorsal forewing. The pattern of the ventral hindwing is also characteristic of the species.

Immature Stages

Comstock (1928) described the immatures. The mature larva is green, matching the foodplant leaves. It has a narrow dorsal white line edged by a wider dark green area on each side.


The BC subspecies, S.b. columbia (McDunnough, 1944), was described from specimens collected at Fairview [Oliver], BC. It ranges south in Washington along the east side of the Cascade Mountains.

Genus Description

The name Satyrium is from the Latin saturos (Satyr), a goatlike woodland deity associated with Bacchus. The Satyrs were voluptuous dancers and this generic name draws attention to the sprightly flight of these hairstreaks (Emmet 1991). The common name is derived from the characteristic white "hairline" across the ventral hindwing.

There are usually tails on the hindwings of species in this genus of hairstreaks. The aedeagus of the male is flared at the tip, with a serrated keel. The aedeagus has one or two cornuti, one of which is toothed. The pair of valves are close together at the base but very divergent at the ends. Clench (1961) provided the modern definition of the genus. He did not include in the genus the species S. titus, which has only one cornutus but is otherwise identical to the other species in the genus. Clench indicated that the genus was Holarctic, but authorities in the Palearctic recognize other genera for their fauna, such as Strymonidia, Nordmannia, etc. There are 15 species in this Nearctic genus, seven occuring in BC. The larvae feed on a wide variety of shrubs and perennials, including oaks (Quercus), willow (Salix), buckbrush (Ceanothus), chokecherry (Prunus), saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia), and, in one case, legumes.


Behr's Hairstreak adults fly from June to early July, extending into late July if there has been a late spring. The species overwinters as an egg (Emmel and Emmel 1973) and completes development the following spring, spending a short time in the pupa (Comstock 1928). The BC foodplant is Purshia tridentata (JHS, field observations; Steven Ife, rearing). Scott (1992) records oviposition on Cercocarpus montanus in Colorado, a plant species that has not been recorded in BC.


Behr's Hairstreak is known only in the extreme southern Okanagan Valley in association with antelope brush, Purshia tridentata, the larval foodplant. Antelope brush is threatened by suburban and agricultural development, grazing management, and proposed casino development near Osoyoos. Behr's Hairstreak should be looked for in the East Kootenay, where the foodplant also occurs.



Behr's Hairstreak ranges from the southern Okanagan Valley of BC through WA and then south to southern CA and NM.

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.

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2024-05-28 7:24:09 AM]
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