Great Purple Hairstreak (Atlides halesus)
With a wingspan of nearly two inches, the great purple hairstreak dwarfs most other North American hairstreaks. With its large size, elaborate hair-like tails, bright orange abdomen and brilliant iridescent blue dorsal wing coloration this butterfly is a sight to see! Common throughout the southern half of the U.S., the great purple hairstreak is at home in a variety of habitats from urban parking lots to undisturbed forests. Readily attracted to flowers, the great purple hairstreak is a frequent garden visitor, being particularly fond of small-flowered plants.
The green slug-like larvae feed on mistletoe, a common parasitic plant on various hardwood trees including oaks, pecans and walnuts. Once fully mature, the larvae venture down the trunk in search of a suitable place to pupate. The small dark brown pupae are often found at the base of large mistletoe-bearing trees or on nearby buildings.