A small butterfly with an accent of orange
One morning in late August I was attempting to photograph a dragonfly at the fish pond when I noticed small bluish butterflies on the mint flowers. When the tiny butterfly came into focus with my Nikon 150mm macro lens, I discovered that it had an interesting orange accent on the lower edge of its wing.
After I finished taking more photos, I rushed to my butterfly book and determined that this was a Sylvan Hairstreak, Satyrium sylvinus, one of the smallest butterflies in North America with a wing span of 1 to 1 3/8 inches (2.5 - 3.5 cm).
Sylvan Hairstreaks are a Gossamer-wing butterfly which means that their delicate wings have the appearance of gauze with bright colors that reflect the sun when they are in flight. The male Sylvan Hairstreak’s wing has a blue sheen with gray-brown or reddish on the upperside; while the female’s wing has more of a yellowish tinge with pale gray to white underside.
The Hairstreak name comes from the hair like tail that extends from the hind wing.
Since their eggs are laid on the stems of a host plant, I will be carefully looking at the mint growing at the pond for any turban-shaped eggs or oval-shaped larva. After winter’s hibernation, the caterpillars feed on the leaves of the host plant so I will also be on the watch for these caterpillars.
If by luck I do see the eggs or caterpillars, I will add a part two to this blog post.
To read more about the Sylvan Hairstreak:
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