Moss Elfin (Callophrys mossii mossii)



  • BC: Red – S2 (2021)
  • COSEWIC: Not Ranked
  • SARA: Not Ranked
  • Global: Apparently Secure (2001)
  • Galiano Island Status: Confirmed


These tiny, brown butterflies rapidly skim the ground as they search for a succulent plant called stonecrop which grows on dry bluffs and rocky outcrops. When they find it they sip nectar from its flowers and lay their eggs on its leaves.


Moss elfin is a Garry oak ecosystem species; an ecosystem with approximately 5% of its historic range left in Canada.


Although stonecrop is relatively common the species is not found in many locations and its distribution is limited to southern Vancouver Island and a few occurrences on the mainland. This species extends south in the U.S. to central California.


Stonecrop beds are destroyed by heavy grazing by deer, house construction, road construction, residential landscaping and crowding out by Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius).

Galiano Status

Populations have been documented on Mount Galiano and on Bodega Ridge.

Photo Credit

Brian Starzomski and Steve Ansell

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