The Next Red-Banded Hairstreak Butterfly

Red-Banded Hairstreak butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

I scored this photograph of a Red-Banded Hairstreak in the Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat (I) in 2017, Eatonton, Georgia. When I saw this one, standing motionless on a Tithonia leaf, it was let’s get to the battle stations! Why? My 1/1,000 of a second assay of this beaut noted those wide red bands, nice blue patch, patented large black spot with a bit of red showing over it, good tails, fine overall color and it looked fresh!

Funny that. I never pass up a Red-banded without first giving it a good look. After all these years of seeking butterflies, I can’t say the same about Cabbage white, Red-spotted purples, Question marks, Eastern tailed blues, many Skippers, most Monarchs, and the list goes on.

There is something about Red-banded hairstreaks that stops me. Up to 2014, I’d read that Southern red-bandeds were more colorful than those up north. Finally in 2015, I drove south to this very same Briar Patch Habitat, and yes, true it was that the Red-bandeds of the South were, well, sweeter to the eye.

These last months I’ve seen amazing butterflies in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, especially at the National Butterfly Center: Malachites, Red Rim, Erato Heliconia, Tropical Leafwings, Gold-Bordered Hairstreaks, 1,000,000 Queens, Mexican Fritillary.

Even so, I’m confident that I’ll stop at the very next Red-Banded Hairstreak I see, expectant, hoping that it surpasses this sweetie here, and also hoping that if it does, I can capture the essence and finery it boasts.