Gray Hairstreak

Strymon melinus

Summary 5

The Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus), is one of the most common hairstreaks in North America, ranging over nearly the entire continent. It occurs also throughout Central America and in northern South America.

General description 6

The Grey Hairstreak has an ash-grey undersurface with a prominent white-bordered, black median line, and two orange patches in the outer angle of the hind wing. Grey hairstreaks have a patch of orange hair between the top of the eyes, which is unique among Alberta hairstreaks. The subspecies affiliation of Alberta populations remains uncertain (Bird et al. 1995), although they have sometimes been reffered to ssp. S. m. franki (Layberry et al. 1998, Guppy & Shepard 2001).

Larva Description 7

In the earlier stages of the life cycle, gray hairstreaks are straw, purplish-white, pink, reddish-brown, or green larvae with various other paler marks. The head is yellowish-brown. Throuhout Texas, however, the larvae have been noted to be entirely green and covered with short hairs.

Larval Host Plants 8

A wide variety of host plants of herbs, trees and shrubs from multiple families, including Fabaceae.

GTM Occurrence 9

The Gray Hairstreak is considered an uncommon species at the GTM. Most observations are in the open habitat along Transect A. Only a few observations have been made along the forest Transects with Marsh Pond Overlook (Transect B) having the most individuals. Observations have been made in February, April-June, July-October, and December with no peak abundance. There have been 20 specimens observed as of December 28, 2015.

Distribution 10

Gray hairstreaks can be found in Southern Canada to Central America and Northwestern South America. They occur from coast to coast and in a variety of altitudes ranging from sea level to nine thousand feet.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); neotropical (Native )

Habitat 11

Unlike most butterflies, gray hairstreaks do not prefer one specific habitat. They are widespread in tropical forests and open, temperate woodland areas. They can also be found in meadows, crop fields, neglected roadsides, and residential parks and yards are often homes of this fascinating butterfly.

Range elevation: 0 to 2745 m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest ; mountains

Other Habitat Features: suburban ; agricultural Comments: A vast array of open to lightly wooded habitats where foodplants such as various mallows, legumes and Hypericum,/i> (St. Johnswort, Clusiaceae) grow. Seen in forest mainly in the spring before canopy closure. Mobile and can turn up in any open habitat.

Nature serve conservation status 12

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Widespread species; occasional economic pest of beans, hops, and cotton.

Other Considerations: May be excluding Strymon avalona from Catalina Island, the only area where it occurs.

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) TexasEagle, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  2. (c) Anita Gould, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  3. (c) John Flannery, some rights reserved (CC BY-ND),
  4. (c) GTMResearchReserve, all rights reserved, uploaded by GTMResearchReserve
  5. Adapted by GTMResearchReserve from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  6. (c) University of Alberta Museums, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  7. Adapted by GTMResearchReserve from a work by (c) University of Alberta Museums, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  8. Adapted by GTMResearchReserve from a work by (c) Leslie Ries, some rights reserved (CC BY),
  9. (c) GTMResearchReserve, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
  10. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  11. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  12. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),

More Info

iNat Map

Category name uncommon