Great Purple Hairstreak 10/31/21 on Desert Broom Great Purple Hairstreak on Desert Broom

Butterflies of Southern Arizona

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Great Purple Hairstreak.
Atlides halesus.
Gossamer-winged (Lycaenidae) Family.

The great purple hairstreak (Atlides halesus), also called the great blue hairstreak, is a common gossamer-winged butterfly species in parts of the United States. It is actually a Neotropical species; its North American range only includes the warm-temperate and subtropical parts of that continent, and it ranges southwards almost to the Isthmus of Panama. The type specimen, however, was shipped to Europe from the Colony of Virginia, probably around the time of the United States Declaration of Independence.

The common names refer to the butterfly's two main colors - dusky purple on the underside, and iridescent blue above. Particularly the males are very colorful in flight - brilliant blue and velvety black, with bright red and golden markings - but when sitting down they show their inconspicuous dusky purple underside. Several subspecies are recognized.

Its caterpillar larvae feed on the mistletoe genus Phoradendron.

Santa Catalina Mountains
Sabino Canyon Recreation Area.
Location: On mistletoe beside Tram Road.

Notes: On desert broom beside Tram Road 10/31/21

See Wikipedia Pictures and Description

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