Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Great Purple Hairstreak
Atlides halesus (Cramer, 1777)


Family: Lycaenidae
Subfamily: Theclinae
Identification: Hindwing with one short and one long tail. Abdomen is blue on top, red-orange beneath. Upperside black with wide-spread iridescent blue. Underside black with iridescent gold markings near tails.
Wing Span: 1 1/4 - 2 inches (3.2 - 5.1 cm).
Life History: Males perch on treetops or other tall objects in the afternoon, watching for receptive females. Caterpillars eat leaves and male flowers of the host plant. Chrysalids hibernate in crevices at base of host tree or under loose bark.
Flight: Three flights from March-December.
Caterpillar Hosts: Mistletoe (Phoradendron species) growing on several tree species.
Adult Food: Nectar from flowers including goldenrod, Hercules club, shepherd's needle, sweet pepperbush, and wild plum.
Habitat: Oak woods, mesquite forests, planted walnuts in agricultural or suburban areas, and mixed woods infested with mistletoe.
Range: Guatemala north to central California, east through Texas and southern Missouri to Maryland.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
Comments: NULL