Satyrium kingi - (Klots and Clench, 1952)
King's Hairstreak
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Satyrium kingi (Klots and Clench, 1952) (TSN 777821)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.115680
Element Code: IILEPD4090
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Butterflies and Skippers
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Lycaenidae Satyrium
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Opler, P. A., and A. D. Warren. 2002. Butterflies of North America. 2. Scientific Names List for Butterfly Species of North America, north of Mexico. C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 79 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B02OPL01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Satyrium kingi
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 30Mar2008
Global Status Last Changed: 01Sep1998
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Uncommon to rare and found in small very localized colonies. Some documented losses. Clearly not nearly as widepread and common as the foodplant and often absent in seemingly suitable habitat. Need more information on true status, especially what percentage of SYMPLOCOS sites have colonies and why it is absent at so many. Seems most likely to be globally uncommon to rare (G3), especially if common fire practices do pose a threat to populations, but could be widely overlooked. Not imminently imperiled nor demonstrably secure.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3N4 (01Sep1998)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (S2S3), Arkansas (S3S4), Delaware (S1), Florida (S2), Georgia (S2S4), Maryland (S1), Mississippi (SU), North Carolina (S3S4), South Carolina (S2S4), Texas (SNR), Virginia (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 250-20,000 square km (about 100-8000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Coastal plain and piedmont from the Maryland-Delaware border to Florida panhandle and west to the Ark-la-Tex region. Note this species follows its foodplant north virtually to its last stand.

Number of Occurrences: 21 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Fewer than 100 known, but more certainly exist.

Population Size: 2500 to >1,000,000 individuals

Overall Threat Impact: Unknown
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Forest destruction on Atlantic coastal plain and in the near future, gypsy moth spraying. Recent reports of prescribed burning eradicating colonies. This is very plausible but needs investigation. Unclear if preserve management practices might usually be threats in terms of this species.

Short-term Trend: Unknown

Long-term Trend: Decline of >10%

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Colonies may be small, also vulnerable to fires, but likely to persist if habitat does.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Definitely needs to be inventoried. See literature for flight dates -- tends to be later than cogeners.

Protection Needs: Several clusters of EOs. Must allow for extirpation/ recolonization.

Global Range: (250-20,000 square km (about 100-8000 square miles)) Coastal plain and piedmont from the Maryland-Delaware border to Florida panhandle and west to the Ark-la-Tex region. Note this species follows its foodplant north virtually to its last stand.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, DE, FL, GA, MD, MS, NC, SC, TX, VA

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Chilton (01021)
DE Sussex (10005)
FL Alachua (12001), Jackson (12063), Okaloosa (12091), Wakulla (12129), Washington (12133)
MD Wicomico (24045), Worcester (24047)
VA Chesapeake (City) (51550), Isle of Wight (51093), New Kent (51127)*, Suffolk (City) (51800)*, Virginia Beach (City) (51810)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Lynnhaven-Poquoson (02080108)+, Pokomoke-Western Lower Delmarva (02080111)+, Lower James (02080206)+*, Hampton Roads (02080208)+
03 Blackwater (03010202)+, Albemarle (03010205)+*, Santa Fe (03110206)+, Apalachee Bay-St. Marks (03120001)+, Chipola (03130012)+, St. Andrew-St. Joseph Bays (03140101)+, Choctawhatchee Bay (03140102)+, Yellow (03140103)+, Blackwater (03140104)+, Upper Alabama (03150201)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A hairstreak butterfly.
General Description: A single brooded hairstreak most similar to S. LIPAROPS and S. calanus falacer..
Diagnostic Characteristics: 30-36 mm. On a spread specimen the postmedian line on the forewing is distinctive in that the anterior third is strongly angled inward. This probably will not show in the field. Two characters that are probably reliable are the indentation on the hindwing just above the tail spots at least on males, and the orange cap inwardly on the blue tail spot. The bands are not fragmented as on S. liparops. Persons not familiar with this species should consult the descriptions and illustrations in Opler and Malikul (1992) and either Glassberg (1999) or Glassberg et al. (2000). A specimen or two, preferably a male, is very strongly advised for vouchering any new occurrences since a photograph may fail to show diagnostic characters clearly.

Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Local and sedentary but must occasionally disperse some.
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Mesic ravine forests, other mesic to swampy woodland or forest with adults occurring mostly close to the sweetleaf bushes. Lack of fire may very well be a critical habitat feature. Unlikely to be found in places subject to fires sufficient to burn over entire stands of sweetleaf. There could be other habitat needs as this species is nowhere near as common as the foodplant overall.
Adult Food Habits: Nectarivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Despite old reports of others, sweetleaf (SYMPLOCOS TINCTORIA) appears to be the only larval foodplant.
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Most of the year is spent as eggs probably on the hostplant bushes. Larvae feed on new foliage and possibly other parts in the spring. Pupal stage is brief (probably about three weeks), almost certainly in the litter. Adults occur somewhat later than most single brooded hairstreaks, varying with latitude etc. from about May to July.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary
Stewardship Overview: Likely management issues include prescribed burning and Gypsy Moth related impacts. How sensitive larvae would be to BTK cannot really be predicted, unless exposure would be as first or second instars. We do not know if Gypsy Moth larvae eat the foodplant or if defoliation might occur before S. kingi larvae complete feeding. The short-term effect of fire is somewhat easier. There is little chance of significant survival of eggs on or at the base of sweetleaf bushes during a fire, and in the case of winter or spring fires food probably would not be accessible to hatchlings if a few eggs did survive, except in skips. However the longer-term effects of fire need investigation. Most collections have apparently been in or near unburned forest. The absence of this species at most stands of the foodplant cannot now be explained. However there has to be concern about possible habitat fragmentation and prescribed burning.

Biological Research Needs: Need better knowledge of population status and habitat needs
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Group Name: Forest and Woodland Hairstreaks

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A location where the species occurs, or has occurred, where there is potential for persistence or regular recurrence. Minimally, a suitable habitat (generally woodland or forest) with the larval foodplant where the species as been verified based on specimens or positively identified photographs for most species. For a number of taxa, not all individuals can be positively identifed from photographs. Due to the frequency of misidentifications in the literature and lack of completely reliable wing characters, genitalia examination would generally be the minimum verification for S. CARYAEVORUM. EOs may include nearby nectar sites when these are adjacent to but different than breedin areas.
Mapping Guidance: EO should be mapped to include all contiguous or nearly contiguous habitat subject to IE.
If the species is associated with a discrete natural community occurrence do not create more than one EO within that community unless the foodplant is absent over gaps of at least half the suitable habitat distance and consider whether the community boundaries should also be used for the EO boundaries. Consult the habitat and food comments fields for species-specific information on what constitutes suitable habitat when mapping occurrences.

Separation Barriers: None known.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: On islands it may be reasonable to consider all colonies as one metapopulation even if these distances are exceeded somewhat.
Separation Justification: These butterflies are rarelyseen more than at most a few hundred meters out of habitat and generally leave it only in search of nectar. On the other hand habitats are usually large (very often >>1000 hectares) for many of the species and in such cases most species seem to occur widely throughout the habitat. Some species are very dispersive, probably especially the subtropical ones that barely enter the USA. There seems to be little doubt that F. FAVONIUS ONTARIO expanded its range several hundred kilometers to the Northeast in the last half of the 20th century. In general though these butterflies are often localized around their foodplants. While there are no real data it does seem likely that 2 kilometers is more than enough to effectively separate populations. Note however that most of these species feed on a dominant or co-dominant tree or shrub and so large blocks of contiguous habitat are likely to be fully occupied. Occurrences several kilometers in one or more dimension are common for some of these species, and few occurrences (perhaps not really any for most species) for any are much less than 50 hectares. Territorial males may be much more localized than females are. Both sexes may also be highly concentrated at times on scarce nectar flowers. It would probably be quite unusual for two collections less than 5 or even 10 km apart in suitable habitat to prove to be separate occurrences, but note suitable habitat must include the local foodplant.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: This applies only in extensive essentially contiguous habitats such as often in extensive eastern forest areas. If the habitat patch is smaller and there are no others within a kilometer the inferred extent is that patch. Note that many taxa feed on the dominant or co-dominant vegetation of the canopy or shrub layer and larvae and adults occur widely in such habitats. Many occupied habitats are several thousand hectares and 5-10 km or more in at least one dimension. Still since some of the species (e.g. KINGI, LIPAROPS STRGOSUM, probably CARYAEVORUM) appear to be more local than their foodplants these butterflies should not be inferred present over long distances. A circle of radius 1 km defines an area of about 400 hectares which is well within the range of occurrences where the habitats are large.
Date: 23Jul2001
Author: Schweitzer, Dale F.
Notes: Do not apply these SPECS to S. EDWARDSII or any other species which are obligately dependent on ants to tend their larvae unless the requisite ants are rather ubiquitous species. Such hairstreaks may be extremely localized within large seemingly suitable habitats, being found only near the ant colonies. The Specs for S. EDWARDSII can be consulted for guidance.
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 14Feb2007
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Schweitzer, D.F., Paul A. Opler
Management Information Edition Date: 19Mar2007
Management Information Edition Author: Schweitzer, D. F.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 19Mar2007
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): SCHWEITZER, D.F.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Deyrup, M. and R. Franz. 1994. Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida, Volume IV. Invertebrates. University Press of Florida: Gainesville, Florida. 798 pp.

  • Harris, L., Jr. 1972. Butterflies of Georgia. Univ. of Oklahoma Press. Norman, Oklahoma. 326 pp.

  • Opler, P. A., and A. D. Warren. 2002. Butterflies of North America. 2. Scientific Names List for Butterfly Species of North America, north of Mexico. C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 79 pp.

  • Opler, P.A. and G.O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies East of the Great Plains, an illustrated natural history. Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. 294pp.

  • Opler, P.A. and V. Malikul. 1992. Eastern Butterflies (Peterson Field Guide). Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 396 pp. + color plates.

  • Pelham, J. P. 2008. A catalogue of the butterflies of the United States and Canada with a complete bibliography of the descriptive and systematic literature. The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera. Volume 40. 658 pp.

  • Pyle, R.M., 1981. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North America Butterflies. Chanitcleer Press, Alfred A. Knopf, NY. 916 pp, 759 color figures.

  • Schweitzer, D. F., M. C. Minno, and D. L. Wagner. 2011. Rare, declining, and poorly known butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) of forests and woodlands in the eastern United States. USFS Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team, Technology Transfer Bulletin FHTET-2011-01. 517 pp.

  • Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America: A Natural History and Field Guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford CA. 583 pp.

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