May 11, 2010
My 4 year old son and I found and caught this guy in my backyard. I’ve never seen a butterfly with these colors and markings before. He seemed to be having trouble flying, so we gently scooped him up and moved him onto a potted plant, where he’s been content to hang out for hours now. We’re in northern Florida near wetlands (St. John’s River). Can you help us identify?
Orange Park, FL
Dear Curious Dad,
Though the Great Purple Hairstreak, Atlides halesus, ranges as far north as New York, Oregon and Illinois, according to BugGuide, it only breeds in the Southern states. Most of our reports come from Florida, though we have also gotten photos from Texas. The presence of the iridescent blue patch on the underside of the forewing identifies this as a male, though in two of your images, that patch is not visible.