Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly
The Colorado hairstreak butterfly (Hypaurotis crysalus) was designated the official state insect of Colorado in 1996 due to the steady lobbying of 4th graders from Wheeling Elementary in Aurora, Colorado (led by teacher Melinda Terry).
Native to the American southwest on both sides of the Continental Divide where elevations are between 6,500 and 7,500 feet, the Colorado hairstreak is easy to identify by the slender "tail" protruding from the hind wings and by their beautiful, distinctive coloration. Their primary diet consists of tree sap, raindrops, and aphid honeydew.
The Colorado Hairstreak butterfly species depends on the gambel oak (Quercus gambelii) as a favorite roost of adults and the usual food source for caterpillars. Eggs are laid singly in late summer on twigs of gambel oaks or another oak species.