2 subspecies recognized: halesus
(Cramer, 1777), and corcorani
Clench, 1942 (Pelham, 2008; (1)
Iridescent bluish green to purple on the thorax and basal half of the wings. Ventrally all of the wings have a crimson spot near the base; ventral forewing otherwise plain brown (female) or brown with patch of blue (male); ventral hind wing with three rows of greenish spots near the apex. Males have a large scent patch on the upper side of the front wing.(2)
southern half of US - Map
ssp. halesus (Cramer, 1777): Mostly Southeastern U.S.A. to New England
ssp. corcorani Clench, 1942: SW Oregon, California, and southwestern U.S. into Mexico.
year round in southmost states (MPG)
Larvae feed on mistletoe, live oak, western sycamore, and desert ironwood.(2)
These butterflies can be visually sexed by the underside of the forewing: males (left) have an iridescent blue patch, which females lack (right)
Whittaker, P.L. 1985. Population biology of the great purple hairstreak, Atlides halesus, in Texas (Lycaenidae). Journal of the Lepidopterist’s Society 38(3): 179-185.