Brown Elfin

Callophrys augustinus

The Brown Elfin is widespread throughout the northern half of Wisconsin, but is seldom very abundant. Mogens C. Nielson in his book on Michigan butterflies says that this species flies low to the ground and may therefore be easily overlooked, but this is also true about the Henry’s, Frosted, and Hoary Elfins. The Elfins, like the Hairstreaks, have a very short flight period in an area, and coupled with the spring flight time, it is difficult to get out into the field when they are actually flying. Consequently, even in an area when you know they occur, you may not be able to observe adults flying every year.

Weekly sightings for Brown Elfin

Identifying characteristics

Similar in size and shape to the other state Hairstreaks and Elfins. Below it is a darker brown towards the body and lighter reddish brown marginally. No tails.

Similar species

The Henry’s, Frosted, and Hoary Elfins are similar, but all have frosting on the hindwing margin that is lacking in the Brown Elfin.

Habitat

Bogs and wooded areas in the northern part of the state where heaths are prevalent.

Flight

One brood. Has been observed from late April until early June.

Abundance

Found throughout the northern half of the state, and less common southward. In the right habitat on the right day, this species may become very abundant.

Late Brown Elfin Sightings

Date County Reported by
Jun 23, 2014 Bayfield Scott and Ann Swengel
Jun 23, 2013 Douglas Scott and Ann Swengel
Jun 26, 2013 Bayfield Mike Reese
Jul 11, 2013 Bayfield Scott and Ann Swengel
Jul 12, 2014 Bayfield Scott and Ann Swengel

Locations

Map showing sighting locations for Brown Elfin
Map key
Brown ElfinClick to enlarge

Wood County Wildlife Area, Wood County, WI. April 29, 2007.

Brown ElfinClick to enlarge

Riley Lake Wildlife Area, Price Co., WI. May 6, 2007.

Brown ElfinClick to enlarge

Riley Lake Wildlife Area, Price Co., WI. May 6, 2007.

Brown ElfinClick to enlarge

Riley Lake Wildlife Area, Price Co., WI. May 6, 2007.