Atala Hairstreak Butterfly, Abaco 7


It’s hard to resist another fly-past for the Atala Hairstreak Butterfly Eumaeus Atala . So I won’t. Once seen, never forgotten. They are small wonders, with their plump orange abdomens and their striking blue-dotted motif; obvious candidates for a signature Rolling Harbour logo for insect posts.

Atala Hairstreak Logo

Atala Hairstreak Butterfly, Abaco 1Atala Hairstreak Butterfly, Abaco 4Atala Hairstreak Butterfly, Abaco 2

This close-up in particular shows clearly that the vivid blue markings are not confined to the Atala’s wings. They are also on the body, the head, and surprisingly on the legs as well.Atala Hairstreak Butterfly, Abaco 6

It is rare to see the inside of an Atala’s wings. In flight they tend just to look black; then they land with precision and closed wings (zeugma score!). In sunshine the spots of the feeding Atala shine out like small LEDs. They very rarely open their wing to reveal the velvety blue upper sides.As I watched the single Atala, a second one arrived and almost immediately ‘jumped’ the first. By which I mean that, for a few seconds, the new arrival ‘covered’ the feeding Atala in every sense of the word. Please consider this a blurry study of the upper side of an Atala’s wings, and politely ignore the intrusive circumstances. This is not a scandal blog. Yet. Mere moments later, it was all over **. I made my excuses and left.Atala Hairstreak Butterfly, Abaco 3

These events may have piqued your interest in the life cycle of the Atala. Some months ago I posted in detail about this, with the whole process illustrated from eggs, larvae, caterpillar and chrysalis to the emergent butterfly. At the end of the post are some helpful links. CLICK LIFECYCLE OF THE ATALA HAIRSTREAK

Finally, you may want to get a sense of size for this butterfly – crops and zooms can sometimes give a distorted impression. So here is a normal snap of the butterfly feeding.Atala Hairstreak, Abaco 9

**My spam box is full of suggestions about this

Image credit for open-wing shot on flower: Stranica


  1. RH you manage to produce some lovely close up pics time and time again. I would like to know more about the camera, lens and any special setups that you are using. I have to take close up picks everyday as part of my work so this is an area of interest for me. Can you provide a few more details. Cheers.


    • Hi Nick, I keep it VERY simple… Originally (post-Abaco, pre-blog days), a tiny shirt-pocket Canon Ixus; added a pocket Panasonic Lumix TZ3 [advantage: Leica lens]; post-blog’s faltering 1st steps, 18 months ago upgraded to Lumix FZ-45; this year added to it a basic 2x tele-extension. Recently replaced Lumix TZ3 after it took a dive in the sand in March, with a pocket Canon Powershot SX240. Almost invariably use auto-settings, as manual settings beyond my skills / comprehension. And the bird’s flown by then. Take plenty of shots. Delete 90%. That’s it. All the best, RH



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