Soapberry Hairstreak

Soapberry Hairstreak

Phaeostrymon alcestis

The guidebooks show the Soapberry Hairstreak’s range to extend almost everywhere in Texas with the exception of the far eastern and southern parts of the state. Still, I have only encountered this butterfly once in all my years of looking for butterflies. For one week in May of 2016, I saw several across the various parks of San Angelo, Texas.

Apparently, they stay close to their food plant, the soapberry tree (sapindus saponaria) which may explain why I have seen so few of them. Its season is also a short one, with a single brood flying April to June.

The Soapberry stands out from other hairstreaks because of the strong white cell-end bars on both the fore and hindwing. The VW mark on the hindwing is also unique to this species.

It’s a handsome butterfly. I hope to see it again someday.

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