Gray Hairstreak

Strymon melinus

Order: 

Lepidoptera

Family: 

Lycaenidae

The Strymon melinus has physical attributes including upper-side wings colored blue-gray with a large red large spot near the tail.  Meanwhile, the spring or fall form of the species has an under-side that is dark gray while the summer form in respect to the wing under-side is paler gray.  The relatively straight post-median line is white, bordered with orange on the edge.  In addition, the wing span-ranges from 2.2-3.5 cm.  While males stay put on small trees and shrubs to seek receptive females for reproduction, females lay eggs on the flowers of host plants.  Host plants include flowers and fruits from a wide variety of plants ranging from pea to mallow families including beans, clovers, and cotton (1).  On the contrary to the majority of butterflies, gray hairstreaks do not prefer one specific habitat but are widespread within tropical forests, temperate regions, and woodland areas (2).  While the general habitat includes open and non-forested sites, the geographic distribution ranges from southern Canada to Mexico (1). 

(1) “Gray Hairstreak Strymon melinus (Huber, 1818).” Butterflies and Moths of North America, Metalmark Web and Data, https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Strymon-melinus.

(2) “Strymon melinus.” Animal Diversity Web, Regents of the University of Michigan, https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Strymon_melinus/.