New Jersey Butterflies

Geat Purple Hairstreak

Atlides halesus

Identification: Very large compared to other hairstreaks in our area. Slightly larger than Common Ringlet. Below: FW and HW very dark with red basal spots on both wings. Bright orange abdomen and white spots on body. Male has some iridescent blue underneath. Two sets of tails on each HW. Brilliant iridescent blue above seen while flying. Not easily confused with any other butterfly in NJ.

NJ Status and Distribution: Vagrant. Found throughout southern U.S.—closest colonies to NJ in southern Delmarva. Only one NJ record from southern Cape May County (6/15/17) in past century. Apparently, it was a resident in NJ before 1900.

NJ Range Map-Great Purple Hairstreak

Habitat: Moist woodlands.

Flight Period: March to November in VA.

Larval Food Plants: : Oak Mistletoe (Phoradendron leucarpum) which is still locally present in southern NJ.

Overwintering Stage: Pupa, but does not overwinter in NJ.

Best Locations: None, but most likely if found it will be in Cape May County.

Comments: A truly stunning butterfly. It is the only member of this tropical genus to make it into the US.

Great Purple Hairstreak

Female, North Cape May, Cape May Co., NJ, 6/15/17 on Coreopsis.