Chlorostrymon maesites, Amethyst Hairstreak

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Chlorostrymon maesites, Amethyst Hairstreak

Male with chunk of hindwing missing

Description: 9.5-11 mm. This butterfly truly is a gem. Both sexes are bright green below with a rust colored patch on the hindwing near the tails. Males are iridecent purple above and females are iridecent blue. They are similar in appearance to the Silver Banded Hairstreak but lack the silver bands and Maesites is smaller and dorsal coloration is much more brilliant in maesites than in the silver banded hairstreak. 

 

Habitat and Distribution: Key Largo, Stock Island, Key West, Plantation Key, and Bahia Honda Key. They are found from time to time in extreme Southern Dade County. The habitat is the canopy top of tropical hardwood hammocks. 

 

Host Plant: Albizia lebbeck

 

Natural History: This butterfly is as rare as it is spectacular. We have encountered only two adults  (one female perched on a sea grape tree in Bahia Honda Key) and the pictured male in Broward County Florida. It could very well be that the reason this species is rarely seen is due to the fact that it is a canopy butterfly. The listed host is an exotic as well which probably means that there are other hosts. I do not recall seeing Albizia lebbeck on Bahia Honda Key where I found a single worn adult.

 

Chlorostrymon maesites, Amethyst Hairstreak
Chlorostrymon maesites, Amethyst Hairstreak

Male with chunk of

hindwing missing

Chlorostrymon maesites, Amethyst Hairstreak

Female at Bahia Honda Key March 2003

Chlorostrymon maesites, Amethyst Hairstreak

Fresh pair of C. Maesites (F -right) (M - Left) 

Chlorostrymon maesites, Amethyst Hairstreak

Male C. Simaethis (left) Male C. Maesites (right)

Female at Bahia Honda Key March 2003

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