North American Butterflies and Moths List

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

The Registry of Nature Habitats

U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Utah

Colorado Hairstreak (Hypaurotis crysalus)
JPG -- species photo
More Images

Colorado Hairstreak (Hypaurotis crysalus [W. H. Edwards])

Wing span: 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 inches (3.2 - 3.8 cm).

Identification: Hindwing has slender tail. Upperside dark purple with wide dark border and orange spots at lower outer edge of each wing.

Life history: Adults rest in Gambel oaks, and males patrol there for receptive females. Eggs are laid singly on twigs of the host tree, then hibernate. Caterpillars eat young leaves in spring.

Flight: One flight from June-August.

Caterpillar hosts: Leaves of oaks, particularly Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii) in the beech family (Fagaceae).

Adult food: Tree sap, raindrops, probably honeydew from aphids and other insects.

Habitat: Oak scrub and oak woodlands.

Range: Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico; north into southern Wyoming, west into eastern Nevada.

Comments: The official State Butterfly of Colorado.

Conservation: Not usually required.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Management needs: None reported.


Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, 
    Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.

Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies.  Houghton-Mifflin Co., 
    Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

State and Regional References:

Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown. 1980. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. 
     University of Oklahoma Press. Norman.

Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised 
     edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.

Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. 
     Privately published, Denver, Colo. 

Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. 
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.
Colorado Hairstreak (Hypaurotis crysalus)
distribution map
map legend

Return to species list
Return to Butterflies of North America main page