The King’s Hairstreak (Satyrium kingi) is listed as a state endangered species in Delaware and Maryland, although they are found in small populations along the Atlantic coast south to Florida and west to Texas. Host plants are more common but it is unknown why populations of butterflies are missing from suitable habitats.
The host plant is Common Wweetleaf (Symplocos tinctoria) in the family Symplocaceae. Its natural habitat includes damp and swampy areas near forests and stream edges. It is likely the butterfly populations have decreased due to forest clearances. Many ecological studies are needed to determine how fires may be affecting this species and why suitable host plants habitats are not being utilized.
For additional information regarding the King’s Hairstreak, please visit The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (Photo Credit: MaryAnn Friedmann).