Gray Hairstreak – Strymon melinus

The Gray Hairstreak, Strymon melinus, is a small gray butterfly.  It can be a very common butterfly.  It is found in all 48 contiguous states.

Gray Hairstreak butterfly - Strymon melinus - on plume flower

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly
Strymon melinus

Like several hairstreak butterfly species, Gray Hairstreak butterflies has orange dots on the outside of their wings. Their wings are about 1 to 1 1/4 inches from tip to tip.

Gray Hairstreak butterfly - Strymon melinus - on plume flower

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly
Strymon melinus

Gray Hairstreak - Strymon melinus - Butterfly caterpillar

Gray Hairstreak
Strymon melinus
Butterfly caterpillar

Gray Hairstreak - Strymon melinus - Butterfly caterpillar - tended by an ant

Gray Hairstreak
Strymon melinus
Butterfly caterpillar
Tended by an ant

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly Caterpillar Strymon melinus

Gray Hairstreak
Pink Butterfly Caterpillar
Strymon melinus

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly in flight Strymon melinus

Gray Hairstreak
Butterfly in flight
Strymon melinus

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly Drinking from Sumac blooms Strymon melinus

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly
Drinking from Sumac blooms
Strymon melinus

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly - Strymon melinus - Drinking nectar from Cosmos

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly
Strymon melinus
Drinking nectar from Cosmos

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly - Strymon melinus - Drinking nectar from milkweed blooms

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly
Strymon melinus
Drinking nectar
from milkweed blooms

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly - Strymon melinus - Drinking nectar from palmetto blooms

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly
Strymon melinus
Drinking nectar
from palmetto blooms

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly - Strymon melinus - Rear view

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly
Strymon melinus
Rear view

Host plants are blooms and fruit of mallow, pea, cotton, clover, beans, and other plants.

Caterpillars range in color from gray to pink.

Ants tend to and protect the caterpillars. Caterpillars have glands that ‘call’ ants and glands that secrete a sweet liquid. Ants drink this liquid and in return, protect the caterpillars.

We found these caterpillars on porterweed and hairy indigo on our property.

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