Great Purple Hairstreak - female, 43mm
Ex-pupa from San Gabriel Mountains, California. Emerged December 3, 2000. Normally this species overwinters as pupa and would not emerge in December. However, this pupa was kept indoors at room temperature, which extended its normal cycle. H. halesus is the largest Lycaenid in North America and breathtaking in its beauty. At 43mm wingspan this is the largest female halesus I have ever seen! I reared this from ova laid by a captured female placed in a small cage with her larval food plant: Common Mistletoe (Phoradendron flavescens). The male of this species is smaller (as shown in the inset), with darker purple that extends to the margins, and only one set of tails. Rearing in captivity is about the only way to get perfect specimens of this species as they easily lose their tails and iridescent scales in the wild.