The Colorado hairstreak got its moment in the sun March 9, when the Postal Service held a virtual dedication ceremony for a stamp showcasing the colorful butterfly.
The shimmering, purple hairstreak (Hypaurotis crysalus) is Colorado’s state insect. It begins life as a fuzzy green caterpillar that feeds on its host plant, the “shrub” oak, in much of the Southwest.
After metamorphosis, the butterfly emerges from its cocoon in late spring or summer, mates and lays eggs in autumn. Through it all, the hairstreak may live in its entire lifespan within a few yards of where it hatched.
During the virtual ceremony, William D. Zollars, a member of the USPS Board of Governors, called the hairstreak “a beautiful creature” and noted its hind wings include slender tails — hairlike appendages that resemble antennae.
“Its markings can fool birds into attacking its tail end, which allows it to escape mostly intact,” Zollars said.
The Colorado Hairstreak stamp, available at Post Offices and usps.com, is the eighth release in the Postal Service’s butterfly series.
The 75-cent stamps were designed in collaboration with the greeting card industry for use on unusually shaped cards and letters that require additional postage. Like Forever stamps, they will always retain their class-of-mail value.