Sunday, April 4, 2010

Coral Hairstreak

The hairstreak family of butterflies get their name from the hair like appendage that extends from their hindwing. It is believed that this "tail" may be a sort of defense mechanism, that is intended to fool predators into believing that it is a face with a spot on the wing as an eye and the hair looking like an antennae.
The coral hairstreak is the only member of the hairstreak family that does not have the hair like appendage. It is a fairly common butterfly that can be found in almost every state in the continental United States.
I took these pictures at Crex Meadows in Wisconsin last July. I found many of these hairstreaks grouped up on the aptly named butterfly weed. Like most butterflies the adults eat nectar from flowers of plants like butterfly weed, dogbane and New Jersey Tea.
After mating the females will lay eggs singly on or at the base of one of the caterpillar host plants which include, wild cherry plum and chokecherry. The butterfly will hibernate over the winter in its egg form and then hatch in the spring. The caterpillar will spend their days hiding in clutter and then come out to feed at night.

8 comments:

Randy Emmitt said...

Good job on these! I have photographed these in the Midwest and in the west. I have found the Coral here in the NC Piedmont are much different than the Corals in the mountains of VA.

Colleen said...

Beautiful! I love all the orange!

Christina. Sweden said...

So colorful and great with the matching color on the butterfly

Kala said...

Fabulous detail and I love the orange color!

jay said...

Gorgeous, crisp macros as usual! You take some great photos!

madcobug said...

Those are beautiful shots. Those orange flowers sets them off. I haven't see any of those butterflies or flowers in this area. Thanks for sharing. Helen

kirstallcreatures said...

Great shots of the Coral Hairstreak, the orange colours of the flower & markings on the hind wing really are of the same intensity aren't they. Best wishes, Linda

sweet bay said...

The butterfly is especially beautiful with the Butterfly Weed.