Rare Peeks at Hairstreaks

Just the other day I noticed a flurry of activity in the hedge of tri-lobed sumac that borders the walk to our front door.  Dozens of Least Skippers (Ancyloxypha numitor) were flitting about in the sunshine, but not because of the sumac; several long cucumber vines had taken advantage of the hedge and were flowering profusely in their canopy.  It was these little flowers that had attracted the butterflies.  Skippers are among my favorite subjects; I’ll devote a post to them in the very near future.  But as I was watching their amazing acrobatics, a smaller movement caught my attention.  As I looked ever more closely at the tiny, bluish butterfly that was closest to me, thinking it was one of the little blues, I could see what looked like extra legs protruding out backwards between the posterior edges of the wings and thought I was witnessing a tiny tryst, but upon closer inspection, they turned out to be tiny wing extensions, tipped by tufts of white scales.

The one I was watching was joined by one or two more in the hour or so I spent there.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these before—which helped to lead me to the (hopefully not too far-fetched) use of “rare” in my title—and I’ve identified them as Red-Banded Hairstreaks (Calycopis cycrops).  The body on each of these little beauties was about a half-inch (1.5 cm) long.


About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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16 Responses to Rare Peeks at Hairstreaks

  1. Nice pics as always. You are so lucky….we have seen so few butterflies this season (I can count them on one hand) But being positive two were Gate Keepers and spotted yesterday, so may be if the weather holds there will be some more….fingers crossed!

  2. mike585 says:

    A very nice post, Gary.

  3. Meanderer says:

    How utterly lovely.

    • krikitarts says:

      I really appreciate that. It’s hard to see the exquisite details without getting so intimately close. I’m very grateful that they allowed me to do so.

  4. Beautiful! We are in a butterfly drought here in New Hampshire.

  5. Victoria says:

    Lovely images.

  6. loriography says:

    Amazing details! Very jealous of your beautiful shots!

    • krikitarts says:

      Thank you very much for your feedback! As for jealousy–it’s not a contest. For me, it’s all about sharing what we can with the best that we can do with the tools at hand and the vision that is granted to each of us. What more can there be to our art than that? –Gary

  7. seekraz says:

    Beautiful details, Gary…what a wonderful hour that must have been. :)

  8. Adrian Lewis says:

    Excellent pictures, Gary – and I love butterflies! Adrian

  9. krikitarts says:

    How could one not? What wonderful inventions!

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