Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

White Scrub-Hairstreak, STRYMON ALBATA

from the January 31,  2010 Newsletter issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort beside Chichén Itzá Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO

At http://www.backyardnature.net/yucatan/mariposa/ on my "Butterflies of the Yucatan" webpage you can see that I've already photographed the Sky-blue Hairstreak. This week along a weedy forest trail I came upon another small, pale, fast-flitting butterfly that clearly was a hairstreak, but not the Sky-blue one. It was paler and more wooly-bottomed, as shown above.

You know that these are hairstreaks because of the hairlike "tails" at their wings' bottom, rear, and the dark spots associated with them. To an attacking predator the "tails" may look like antennae on a head, and the dark spots may resemble the compound eyes, and this deception might cause the predator to go for the wrong end. As I photographed this hairstreak its "tails" wiggled up and down just like antenna probing from a curious head.

Bea in snowy Ontario, hungry for butterflies, was tickled to ID the critter as the White Scrub-Hairstreak, STRYMON ALBATA.

It's a little butterfly, with a wingspan of about 1-¼ inches ( 3.2 cm), distributed from Venezuela and Columbia north through Central America and Mexico, sometimes even straying into extreme southern Texas, where seeing one is considered quite a treat. The White Scrub-Hairstreak's habitat is listed as second growth and shrubby fields in seasonally dry tropical lowlands, which is exactly where it was here. Its caterpillars feed on flower buds and young fruits of plants in the Mallow or Hibiscus Family, which are very common here in weedy places.

It all makes sense, all hangs together, another harmonizing tone in Nature's butterfly-melody.