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Copyright by: Beryn Harty
Small butterfly with a wingspan up to 1-1/8 inches. The upperside of the wings is copper-colored; both forewing and hindwing have black borders. The underside is grayish-brown, with a large white spot near the leading edge of the hindwing and a white, broken postmedian line edged with black. The hindwing has two tails. The slug-shaped caterpillar is olive-green with a black head, reddish-brown stripes, short hairs and two rows of small, pale spots on the back.
The West Indies; a recent introduction to peninsular Florida.
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
Rare in Central Florida, uncommon to locally common all year in South Florida, common all year in the Keys; caterpillars are present all year.
Hammocks and their edges, coastal uplands, canal banks and shrubby areas.
Eggs are laid singly or in clusters on the young leaves of the host plants.
Fulvous hairstreaks appeared in South Florida in the 1970s. The population may be moving slowly north into Central Florida, but the species is not cold-tolerant.
Caterpillars feed on the young leaves of host plants. The only reported larval host plant in Florida is the nonnative Brazilian-pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius), but southern river sage (Salvia misella) and other Salvia species are reported as possible hosts in Cuba. Nectar plants are varied and include the native Jamaica-dogwood (Piscidium piscipula), Spanish-needles (Bidens alba var. radiata) and seagrape (Coccoloba uvifera) and the nonnative Brazilian-pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) and karum tree (Millettia pinnata).