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.
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.
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.