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Caterpillars of Eastern Forests

Hairstreaks, Blues, and Coppers (Family Lycaenidae)


These small, sluglike caterpillars are oval or tear-shaped and somewhat flattened, with the head often withdrawn into the thorax. Coloration may be highly variable even within a species; many have chevron markings over the dorsum. Short dense hairs give the surface a velvety texture. The crochets are of 2 or 3 lengths in a linear series that is often interrupted in the middle by a fleshy lobe—adjacent to lobe, the crochets are often absent or reduced in size. Like limacodids they seem to glide across leaf surfaces. Although this is the largest butterfly family, few species feed on trees—most use herbaceous plants, especially legumes. Many lycaenids are tended by ants. Tended species have dorsal glands that can secrete a nectar when the abdomen is drummed by solicitous ants.


Caterpillar Thumbnail
Banded Hairstreak

(Satyrium calanus)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Olive Hairstreak

(Mitoura grynea)

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