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Great Purple Hairstreak

Resting female in Rio Grande Valley, Texas, USA

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.


  1. ^ "Great Purple Hairstreak, Atlides halesus (Cramer, 1777)". Butterflies and Moths of North America. Retrieved April 2, 2012. 


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