Colorado has so many different environments for bugs. So many different trees, plants, water sources, elevations, and predators.

The current Miller moth migration hitting Colorado may lead you to believe that must be Colorado's official insect, but it's not. What about mosquitos? We certainly deal with them all over the state and hear a lot about West Nile Virus. Nope. We don't even make it into the top ten states with the worst mosquitos. Bees? We have so many flowering plants, surely the bee must be the official Colorado insect. Almost, but no.

Turns out, the official Colorado state insect is the Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly. This butterfly officially started representing our state in 1996. It's found in oak groves at higher elevations, above 6500 feet. The Hairstreak is characterized by it's lovely blue, purple, and black wings.

Megan McCarty via Wikimedia/ CC BY-SA 3.0
Megan McCarty via Wikimedia/ CC BY-SA 3.0

Colorado Hairstreak (Hypaurotis crysalus) by Megan McCartyCC BY-SA 3.0 (No Changes Made)

A fourth-grade teacher in Aurora faced opposition when she asked the state to recognize this butterfly as an official state symbol. The opposition was pushing for the honeybee to have that recognition.

According to the Butterfly Pavilion teacher, "Melinda Terry led her fourth-grade class at Wheeling Elementary to the state legislature and insisted that this beautiful insect become an official symbol of the state. Their efforts spread across fourth-grade classes in Colorado, and eventually, this butterfly overcame challenges to the state insect title".

This is the home these butterflies love the most, the Gambel oak. Caterpillars thrive on their leaves.

Wikimedia August 2005, Nikon D70, Photo by Cory Maylett
August 2005, Nikon D70, Photo by Cory Maylett
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