Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly Photos From The Wasatch Mountains

/, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, Utah, Wasatch Mountains/Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly Photos From The Wasatch Mountains

I’m always delighted to take a photographic “lifer” whether that is a bird, wildflower, mammal or insect that I’ve never photographed or as was the case yesterday, a butterfly I’d never taken images of before. I was photographing birds when I spotted a hairstreak butterfly land right in front of me and took some images of it, I didn’t know at the time it was a Colorado Hairstreak butterfly, I found that out later after I got home.

Resting Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahResting Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I didn’t know anything about this species of butterfly yesterday when I photographed it but this is some of the information I found out by doing research on the web. Colorado Hairstreak butterflies (Hypaurotis crysalus) are montane butterflies that depend on Gambel Oaks both as a roost for the adults and as a food source for the caterpillars. Adult Colorado Hairstreak butterflies feed on tree sap and apparently honeydew secreted by insects such as aphids rather than nectaring on flowers.

Range map of Colorado Hairstreak butterflies

By derivative work: Megan McCarty (talk)North_America_second_level_political_division_2.svg: Alex Covarrubias [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Colorado Hairstreak butterflies are found in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and small areas of Nevada, Wyoming and Durango, Mexico. They are usually found at elevations higher than 6500 feet, the one I photographed was at a slightly lower elevation and there weren’t any Gambel Oaks immediately nearby though I know for a fact that there are oaks on the canyon slopes in the vicinity.

Colorado Hairstreak butterflies are the official state insect of Colorado.

Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly with wings partially open, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahColorado Hairstreak Butterfly with wings partially open – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The “tail” that hairstreaks often have at the bottom of the lower wing is hidden in my photos, oh how I wish it weren’t!

I’m not sure of the identity of the shrub the Colorado Hairstreak landed on but I’m very glad that it landed to rest in front of me even though it was only for a few seconds. I’ve probably seen this species before but I had never taken photos of them until yesterday morning.

Life is good, “lifers” are great.



  1. Patty Chadwick August 15, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Tail hidden or not, it’s still a beautiful photo of a very beautiful insect…love pictures of these guys, dragonflies, all kinds of insects, as well as birds….you get such great images of these alternative “flying objects”…

  2. April Olson August 15, 2018 at 10:16 am

    I have seen these! I did not know what type they were, thanks for identifying them. Looking at other images of them on the internet looks like there is a wide variation in colors.

  3. Trudy Brooks August 15, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Yes very nice photo and the color really must be gorgeous when in flight. There are some really beautiful butterflies in this world.

  4. Tim Traver August 15, 2018 at 6:42 am

    Lovely hint of hidden blue! One of these days I’m really going to learn my butterflies. Thanks for the link.

  5. Bob mcpherson August 15, 2018 at 6:26 am

    Beautiful photos Mia.

  6. Liz Cormack August 15, 2018 at 6:25 am


  7. Glen Fox August 15, 2018 at 5:39 am

    A gorgeous butterfly Mia, Thank you for sharing the information. Glen

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