Gray Hairstreak – Strymon melinus

Gray Hairstreak – Strymon melinus
Live butterflies photographed at Corpus Christi, TX 
Family Lycaenidae / Subfamily: Theclinae (Hairstreaks)
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Gray Hairstreak - Strymon melinus

The Gray Hairstreak, also called the common hairstreak, is the most widely distributed of the hairstreaks. It is absent only from the far north. The caterpillar is commonly known as the "cotton square borer" and is known to damage bean, hops, and cotton crops.

Life Cycle: Eggs are pale green. Larvae are grass-green with white diagonal stripes on the sides. The caterpillars are known to frequent over 50 different host plants; among them are corn (Zea mays), oak (Quercus), cotton (Gossypium), strawberry (Fragaria), mint, legumes and mallows. Chrysalis is brown with black mottling. Flight time: variable, broods more numerous southward. 2 broods in north, 3 or more in south. April-October.

Habitat: Deciduous woods, roadsides, open meadows, fields and disturbed areas, parks and vacant lots.
Range: British Columbia to the Maritime Provinces, south the Baja Claifornia, Florida, Venezuela and Columbia in South America.

See also Banded Hairstreak


  1., Gray Hairstreak
  2. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects & Spiders Chanticleer Press 1980
  3. Eric Eaton & Ken Kaufman, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
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