17 May 2009

Once a Year

Heidi and I had a wonderful time at the reception held in Abilene. Great friends and food; an outpouring of love, generosity, and support.

I, in my ever-expanding wisdom, did not bring my camera to capture some of the evening's moments. Heidi however did, and may post a few in the near future.

Anyhow, the following day (today) we came upon the following butterfly in the Abilene front yard of Heidi's landlord:

Abbie has done an amazing job with this garden, by the way...

Soapberry Hairstreak (Phaeostrymon alcestis)

This insect is a "one-brood" butterfly. [In some cases a particular butterfly species passes from egg,larva,pupa and adult stages in a matter of weeks, and the cycle is repeated many times a year; thus many "generations" or "broods" a year. There are, however, some species that hae only one brood per year, and these often have a short flight season. In the North there are some that have even fewer than one per yr.]

So you kind of get one shot at spotting these guys, generally from May to June, per season.

The Soapberry Hairstreak gets its common name due to its affinity for the Western Soapberry tree (Sapindus drummondii), the larval hostplant. The adult butterfly is seldom found away from the soapberry tree. Due to this, it is a highly localized species. It ranges where, ofcourse, soapberry trees range, generally the central & western two-thirds of Texas, parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and extreme northern portions of the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora.

This is only the second time I have observed this species, and I believe a first for Heidi. This bug was seriously cooperative and we took advantage with our cameras.

Thank all of you in the Abilene/Taylor County area for your support, encouragement, and friendship.
We certainly look forward to seeing those who are planning to attend the reception in Houston during the upcoming weekend.


  1. So jealous of the Soapberry Hairstreak! I still haven't happened across one of those guys. Wish we could have been there for the reception...I hope it was great!
    Best wishes,

  2. Gavin & I should manage a photo-dump by sometime this weekend (we hope). Until then some photos have been posted at http://picasaweb.google.com/kindli/OliverAlbum54Months?pli=1&gsessionid=kwceq2zuPqgwhLAKxHI5xg# but those are mostly of Oliver's weekend experience. Nice to finally meet you!

  3. Hey Matt,
    I have good memories of finally finding these at Fort Hood. I think you did too if I remember correctly. It was all about looking for the soapberry trees. I just recently saw the first juniper hairstreak I'd seen since TX. Great group of leps. Congrats on bigger things than butterflies!

  4. Hi Kelly.

    Yep. You actually gave me the heads-up on this bug back on Ft. Hood.

    Heidi and I may have to pick your brain soon, btw. :-)
    We'll be in SW Florida for a week in late July, and need some local advice on birds, bugs, and herps.

    I hope you, Sarah, and the future-Jones are well.

    Best to all of you.