Identity? It’s a Mallow Scrub Hairstreak Butterfly

Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Being introduced to a new Hairstreak butterfly is a treat. My first ever? That Striped Hairstreak in the Powdermill Reserve (Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s bird research station in the Laurel Highlands in Southwestern Pennsylvania).

My trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, years in the coming, paid off, Big. This fine, tiny Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak butterfly was found in the National Butterfly Center, amongst the rich plantings and shrubs there near the border wall. Rarely seen as East as Louisiana and as west as California and no further north than Nevada, it’s like the one you fell in love with. At first it seems some like other tiny hairstreaks, and then you begin to appreciate the subtle, but appreciated differences. As it slowly works the flowerhead for nectar, those large black spots and their surrounding orange juice-colored rims sing to you, as do the trim black crescents with their sharp white borders. Tails intact, this one was, well, fine.

Just keeping bringing me new Hairstreaks, won’t Y-u?