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 – 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.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 – 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.