The great purple hairstreak, Atlides halesus (Cramer), is one of our most beautiful and fascinating southern butterflies. Although its preferred and most frequently used common name is great purple hairstreak (Miller 1992), it does not have any true purple coloring on it. A few publications (Gerberg & Arnett 1989, Emmel 1975, Pyle 1981) use the name great blue hairstreak which is more appropriate.
How Atlides halesus came to be known as the great purple hairstreak is a mystery. Pyle (1981) described the female as being purplish-gray below, and Evans (2008) mentioned that that the undersides of the wings have a purplish sheen. Cech and Tudor (2005) stated that the female fades to brownish purple with wear. A humorous tongue-in-cheek explanation for the name great purple hairstreak is given by Kipperling (2013).
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