A Naturalist in Trinidad and Tobago Spots a Black-veined Hairstreak in her Backyard - Observation of the Week, 7/27/21

Our Observation of the Week is the first Black-veined Hairstreak (Atlides polybe) posted from Trinidad and Tobago! Seen by @sheneller.

“I’ve been working from home due to the pandemic, which has been very stressful,” says Shenelle Ramkhelawan, an engineer living in Trinidad and Tobago. 

During my lunch breaks I like to go for walks in my backyard for fresh air. I saw a dragonfly perched on a branch and on my way to take its photograph, I saw a red dot under my pomerac tree. Upon closer observation, I noticed it was a stunning butterfly. I took photos of it and soon my dogs gathered around me. To save it from being trampled by my dogs, I gently placed my hand in front of it and it easily jumped onto my hand. It was very calm and didn’t fly away. I placed it on a tree and took more photos. This was the first butterfly I interacted with that was very calm and didn’t seem to fear me.

The butterfly Shenelle photographed was of course the black-veined hairstreak you see above. This species ranges from Mexico down through Argentina, but this is the first observation of one on any Caribbean island posted to iNaturalist. Like many other hairstreaks, it has “tails” extending from its hindwings. 

“Although I am an engineer by profession,” says Shenelle (above), 

I enjoy spending time in nature as a hobby. I enjoy going to beaches, hiking to waterfalls, and adventuring in the rainforest. I love being in nature as it helps me to self-reflect, heal and escape from the stresses of life. It helps me to remember that my problems aren’t as big as they seem.  

A friend of mine introduced me to iNaturalist. At first, I used it as my way of sharing my finds with my friend. Since then, it has evolved into a hobby and an escape. After joining iNaturalist, my perspective of my surroundings has changed. iNaturalist has a very friendly and well-educated community that truly cares and values nature. With their help, I am now more cognizant and knowledgeable of the fauna around me. iNaturalist helps me gain an appreciation for nature and learn to be kinder to my environment.

Most of my photos are taken in my backyard. If I am able to observe such beautiful species in my backyard, imagine what lies beyond.

- A big thanks to @brystrange for letting me know about this observation!

- Last year we featured another iNatter from Trinidad and Tobago, @zakwildlife, in an Observation of the Week post!

- There are over 115k hairstreak obervations on iNaturalist, check ‘em out!

Posted by tiwane tiwane, July 27, 2021 19:21


What a super observation! And I agree, being outside in nature makes our problems seem smaller. Enjoy your piece of nature.

Posted by seaheart88 4 months ago (Flag)

What a lovely story! Thanks Shenelle.

Posted by susanhewitt 4 months ago (Flag)


Posted by nelson_wisnik 4 months ago (Flag)


Posted by wendyjalexander 4 months ago (Flag)

Beautiful capture and story!

Posted by bjs550 4 months ago (Flag)

This makes Atlides halesus look rather bland.

Posted by papili01 4 months ago (Flag)

What a gorgeous hairstreak! Lovely that you're exploring and enjoying your backyard.

Posted by nindywms 4 months ago (Flag)

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