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gray hairstreak

gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus)
Photo © David W. Brewer

Features and Behaviors

The gray hairstreak has a wingspan of about one and one-quarter inches. The upperside of the wings is dark gray, while the underside is a lighter gray. An orange spot with a black dot at the bottom is present at the back edge of each hindwing. The hindwing has two tails. A three-colored line separated into two sections is also present on the hindwing.

This species can be found statewide from April through October. It lives in most open areas. Several generations are produced annually, with overwintering occurring in the chrysalis stage. The larva eats beans, hops and many other species of plants.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Lycaenidae

Illinois Status: common, native