This butterfly is most often seen with its wings raised up, allowing it to hide its bright blue and black topside from view. People are really only able to glimpse that gorgeous color when it is flying, and that glimpse is fleeting. Very rarely, it is found with its wings open flat, and even rarer is the chance that someone is camera-ready to capture the moment. We are grateful to Mark for sharing this image with us. The more commonly seen colors on the White M Hairstreak better explain its common name. Underneath, the wings are pale brown-gray. On the hindwing, one thin white line crosses the wing and zigzags into the shape of an ‘M’ or a ‘W’ depending on how you see it. A faint line closer to the edge has a bold red-orange dot on it near the bottom. The forewing has a similar pattern but without the red dot. Short tails extend from the hindwings.
Adults are often found in the proximity of oak trees, the food plant for caterpillars. Caterpillars are green or light brown, or a transitional mix of both colors. The shape is more like a slug or pill bug: plump and humped. Up to three broods are possible in one year, especially in the southern states. Like other butterflies, adults take nectar from flowers from spring through autumn.
General Characteristics Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns.
Territorial Map U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Prince Edward Is.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used for sensing.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.