Great Purple Hairstreak

Amazon009 at Amazon009 at
Thu Jan 28 05:20:38 EST 1999

Paulette Haywood wrote:
> I am in search of Atlides halesus chrysalids and will be traveling to a
> site where I have collected eggs from large infestations of mistletoe in
> several large oak trees. I hope to find chrysalids in this natural
> rather than a laboratory setting.  Does anyone have any tips for
> locating them on the trees?

I have found Atlides pupas at the base of Sycamore trees infested with
mistletoe, approximately 1/2 inch buried under the soil and fallen leaves, or
in crevices at the base.  The pupa looks a little like a coffee bean. They
will sometimes pupate inside of a rolled-up leaf, and they can also be found
behind loose bark on the tree itself. I have read that as many as 100 pupa
have been discovered under one tree, but my encounters have only turned up
from one to four pupas max.

The pupa are easily parasitized and the larva have a very beneficial and
symbiotic relationship with ants. A relationship that helps keep parasite
levels down. The ants benefit from a tasty secretion emitted from the larva.
Phil DeVries has performed extensive high sensitivity sound
recording/behavioral studies of certain lycaenid larva and ants, and he
speculates that some form of audio communication is going on between them.
Perhaps someone could explain this current research in more detail. 

Jim Hanlon

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