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The subfamily Theclinae is a group of butterflies, including the hairstreaks, elfins and allies, in the family Lycaenidae. There are many tropical species as well as a number found in the Americas. Tropical hairstreaks often have iridescent blue coloration above, caused by reflected light from the structure of the wing scales rather than by pigment. Hairstreaks from North America are commonly brown above. Few Theclinae are migratory. Members of this group are described as 'thecline'.

Red-banded hairstreak
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Lycaenidae
Subfamily: Theclinae
Swainson, 1831

See text


The systematics and phylogeny of the numerous Theclinae has not reached a robust consensus yet. The arrangement presented here is based on Savela (2007), but be aware that it is probably oversplit and several tribes may not be valid. Nonetheless, the tribes as listed here generally seem to represent monophyletic lineages, but whether this is indeed so and whether these are distinct enough to warrant this level of separation remains to be resolved.


The subfamily includes the following tribes:

Genera of incertae sedisEdit

Museum drawer of West Palaearctic Theclinae

The following genera have not yet been assigned to a tribe:


  • Opler, Paul (1999). Field Guide to Western Butterflies, A. Amy Bartlett Wright (ill.) (2nd ed.). Boston; New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Savela, Markku (2007): Markku Savela's Lepidoptera and some other life forms: Theclinae. Version of 2007-APR-5. Retrieved 2007-MAY-30.
  • "Lycanaedae - Theclinae". Natural History Museum of Los Angelese County. Archived from the original on 2006-07-19. Retrieved 2006-07-22.

Further readingEdit

  • Glassberg, Jeffrey Butterflies through Binoculars, The West (2001)
  • James, David G. and Nunnallee, David Life Histories of Cascadia Butterflies (2011)
  • Pelham, Jonathan Catalogue of the Butterflies of the United States and Canada (2008)
  • Pyle, Robert Michael The Butterflies of Cascadia (2002)

External linksEdit