Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Atlides halesus, the great purple hairstreak

yesterday morning, while i was out doing some watering in the kitchen garden, i spotted a butterfly that i had never seen before.  he was thirsty, attracted to the water running out of the bottoms of the pots.  he was looking a bit ragged with somewhat faded and tattered wings though still quite striking.  i took some pictures and staal helped me identify him---Atlides halesus, great purple hairstreak.  they're not a very common butterfly to see so this was a pretty special treat.  

Atlides halesus, great purple hairstreak sucking water out of the door mat in the kitchen garden

(you can see pictures of better looking specimens and find information about the great purple hairstreak here:  http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Atlides-halesus )

i found a website that collects, stores, and shares species information and occurrence data on butterflies and moths of north america.  they allow people to register and submit sightings of butterflies and moths and i figured since the great purple hairstreak is kind of a rare critter to see i'd submit a sighting report (this included the photo i took so that an expert could verify the identity of the butterfly).  last night i got an email saying my submission was correctly identified and would be added to their list.  you can see it here: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/sighting_details/988980
there are lots of great pictures of butterflies and moths, maps, and lists of sightings by region so if you have an interest it's a great resource.