Since the middle of the 19th century states such as Colorado began to adopt their own official state symbols. A state symbol can come in the form of state animals, mammals, a state bird and flower, fruits, vegetables, amphibians, nicknames, state seals, and much more.
State symbols were adopted by states to best represent them and their historical roots, and past and present successes. Like all other states, there are many Colorado state symbols.
What is the State Insect of Colorado
The Colorado state insect is the Colorado hairstreak butterfly (Hypaurotis crysalus). This state symbol was adopted in 1996 thanks to the steady efforts of 4th grade students from Wheeling Elementary School in Aurora Colorado, which was led by teacher Melinda Terry. These beautiful butterflies are typically found residing in the hills and canyons at heights between 6,500 and 9,000 feet.
They are easily identifiable due to their purple, blue, and black colored body and wings with orange spots on either side when their wings are closed. Their tail is small and located on their lower wings, which is commonly found in this species of hairstreak. Colorado hairstreak butterflies are native to both sides of North America.
Where Does The Colorado State Insect Breed
Colorado hairstreak butterflies depend on Gambel oaks as this is where they typically reside and breed due to their being a rich supply of food for the caterpillars. Eggs will be laid singly during the late summer months on twigs and bark.
They will usually spend their entire lives in these single oak groves and will typically never feed on flowers. One generation hatches per year and the adults are usually spotted looking for mates during the late afternoons of July and August. Today, there seems to be no sign of these gorgeous insects going extinct or even endangered, which is awesome news for our ecosystem.
Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly Facts
These majestic and beautiful butterflies are incredibly interesting, which has provided us with many facts that you probably didn’t know about.
- Despite residing in the mountains of Colorado primarily, you can find the hairstreak butterfly in several other states too during their flight. Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico, additionally, they can also be found in small areas of Nevada, Wyoming, and Durango, Mexico.
- The maximum size these butterflies grow to is 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in length.
- Once they become adults, they do not consume nectar from flowers anymore, they feed on sap and sugar from oak galls. Additionally, they feed on honeydew too.
- There is only one generation of Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly that hatch per year, the months that they typically hatch are usually July and August.
Most states will have their symbols showcase a relevant story, that is indicative of the state and its history, and the Centennial State puts its history and what it stands for across very well in the Colorado state insect. This interesting fact about Colorado and a whole host of others are what makes the state so unique and fascinating to those that live there, people visiting, or those researching the historical events of the state.