Monday, February 15, 2010

Butterfly larval host plants: Gray Hairstreak

Everyone,
Kind of consumed with the Winter Olympics currently.

I had Jean ask if we had hairstreak butterflies in the US. Yes we do somewhere around 70 different species of Hairstreaks and Elfins. In the Eastern US the number is around 20 species. Anyway I'll create a post on the plants used as host plants of the more common hairstreaks.

This is the Gray Hairstreak, Strymon melinus on Red Clover, Trifolium pratense it might be a  host plant. These are the most common hairstreak we have in the US. It has 3 broods and can be found flying during most of the butterfly season depending on where you live.


Larval host plants for the Gray Hairstreak are: Mainly in the families of Legumes Fabaceae, mallows Malvaceae. Including clovers Trifolium spp., bush clovers Lespedeza spp., tick-trefoil Desmodium spp., mallows Malva spp.,and vetches Vicia spp. About any weedy meadow or field nearby can support a population of this hairstreak.


 
Gray Hairstreak in March on a wild plum tree!


On Verbena on a stick


On Butterflyweed, Asclepias tuberosa

More on the Gray Hairstreak at my web site  

News from the garden, we still have a little snow left over from over 2 weeks ago. It sleeted a short while ago. Our normal high temperature for this time of year is 53 degrees, not seen any 50s in at least three weeks,  every night we are getting down in the mid 20s. Saturday we expect a high of 52 degrees! 
The crocuses are up but have not opened yet. Hellebores not showing much yet. We have not turned up any soil in the garden yet or planted any seeds....

15 comments:

sweet bay said...

Wonderful shots randy. This is a beautiful little butterfly.

Bangchik said...

Beautiful butterfly potrayed in a well captured photographs. I love the tails, almost identical to the tentacles at the front! ~bangchik

Carol said...

Randy your photos are stunning as always... do you use a tripod? The little Gray Hairstreak on Asclepias is stellar with the mirroring orange on wing and flower. Gorgeous!

Muhammad khabbab said...

Very pretty shots indeed. little Gray Hairstreak on Asclepias is too good.

Randy Emmitt said...

Carol,
Just about never use a tripod in butterfly photography, they move to much. The photo of the Gray Hairstreak on verbena is in fact a tripod shot and I used a plamp to steady the flower in the wind. Hairstreaks either stick to flowers like glue or fly off, this one let me photograph it for 30 min and was still there an hour later.

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...

Great photos (as always- you're the best)!

I photographed a red-banded hairstreak (according to the folks on a butterfly forum) that was on my chaste tree.

We have a lot of sweetgum and poplar trees around - hosts? Just curious.

Cameron

Noelle said...

Well, we have the Verbena and Asclepias and I enjoy seeing the butterflies they attract.

Randy Emmitt said...

Cameron,

Sweet Gum I don't think it hosts any butterflies. Tulip Poplar on the other hand hosts the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Look for the swallowtail on young trees near eye level, I have seen them lay eggs several times.

Anna Flowergardengirl™ said...

Such beautiful photos. I love these little guys and they flutter all over my garden. I am so tired of this weather..it's too dreary. Let's get some gardening sunshine.

I hope you can get a 'Lo and Behold' butterfly bush ;)

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I bet you're watching curling so you can get ready to enter the next Olympics after your practice this winter. :)
I love seeing butterfly pictures now, it won't be all that long before they're flying around outside. I'm wondering if Hairstreaks are in Washington state?

Andrea said...

Hi i am new here and listed yours in my followed blog because i've been chasing butterflies for a few years. I am trying to study their host plants but cannot yet find time to sit down and make a butterfly garden. lol. thanks for the wonderful butterfly and bird photos. It looks like you have a very powerful lens for those birds!

Skeeter said...

The small Hairstreaks are a welcome sight in our gardens! Yes, the winter weather has been really strange this year hasn’t it. We rarely get more then a handful of freezing temps but this year, I think it has been freezing each night for weeks upon end! I can only imagine what all I have lost in the garden. Sigh, only time will tell and warming up this weekend. Finally….

Ginger said...

You're going to love that toffee. Forgot to say in the original post that I subbed pecans for the almonds.

littlewing said...

Awesome pictures of the Gray Hairstreak! I managed to get pictures of it and an Eastern Tailed Blue one weekend late in the season last year. I don't recall having seen them in the garden any during the rest of the year. I have almost all of those host weeds growing somewhere here in my yard,lol.

Doug Taron said...

Excellent post and photos. The Atala that I recently posted on my blog is an unusual (and very beautiful) hairstreak.