07.17.2015 Streaking

Ha!  This isn’t what you were thinking.  🙂

Here are two species of Hairstreak butterflies.  We allow milkweed to grow on one side of our driveway in hopes of attracting a Monarch to lay some eggs.  So far we have only been successful once in the last several years.  I rarely see them in wilder places either.  We are hopeful that the growing awareness of their plight will encourage folks to do all they can to preserve the habitat needed as well as reduce the pesticide use and other causes of their decline.  Two added benefits of having milkweed in our yard are the attraction it holds for other insects and that it smells wonderful while flowering.  One of my favorite scents.

The difference between these two hairstreaks is subtle, but once I became aware of what to look for it is now fairly easy.  As you can probably tell by the size of the flower in comparison, these are smallish butterflies.

This is the Striped Hairstreak (Satyrium liparops)Striped-Hairstreak-062915-700WebAnd this is the Banded Hairstreak ( Satyrium calanus)Banded-Hairstreak-070315-700WebThe quick and easy marker being the small orange patch just in front of the blue patch on the Striped.

So there you go, an insect post without the negative cache of spiders and flies.  🙂



About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Closeup Photography, Insect Behavior, Lepidoptera, macro photography, Nature Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to 07.17.2015 Streaking

  1. Bill says:

    We have these butterflies here in Virginia but I didn’t know what they are called. Beautiful. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m very fond of Hairstreaks, but I used to have a terrible time in the field telling these two apart. Never realized it could be so easy! At Illinois Beach I could count on them on Butterfly Weed; they would be little triangles moving intently among the florets. (which do indeed smell wonderful. And Swamp Milkweed~that one is pure heaven, isn’t it?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • My small milkweed patch attracted at least a dozen as I photographed these, Melissa. I think there must have been quite a good hatch of them both nearby.
      Yeah, some of the swamps I visit could use a bit of help from milkweeds. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark says:

    Indeed, not what I immediately thought, but then this is a family friendly blog. I have been keeping an eye on our milkweed in our yard also.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you are more successful in your watch than I have been so far, Mark. No milkweed tussocks yet either.
      Most of the time family friendly…once in a while the bugs are pictured getting “frisky”


      • Mark says:

        No I haven’t been successful. The butterflies in our yard seem pretty hyper lately. I haven’t had the chance to hunt earlier in the day when they are slow.


  4. Beautiful shots. I am not an insect expert, but can I guess the mottled colour is due to age?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are correct, Ben. Butterfly wings are covered with scales and over time they lose some of them which changes the look. Most often it is more obvious on the wing edges, but as you noticed, the color muddies or fades too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. These two beauties must be such a delight to see in your yard, though I hope you’ll be lucky enough to attract some Monarchs again soon, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Birder’s Journey. Yes, we appreciate all the butterflies and most all the other insects as well…we won’t talk about the mosquitoes now. I look for the monarchs daily and have seen one or two flying elsewhere but not here yet. I get excited when I see a flash of orange, but that has been fritillaries so far.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think you can distinguish streakers of the type your title alluded to by the fact that all they wear is hair—as opposed to hairstreaks, which have no hair.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. krikitarts says:

    An insect post without spiders? Well, I should hope so, as the two are not at all closely related. But your reference to a “negative cache of spiders” eludes me. I count myself among the many who find spiders endlessly fascinating. BTW, did you know that hairstreaks are able to move that little finger-like wing appendage independently of the rest of the wing? How cool is that?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would expect you to feel a bit more warmly towards them, Gary. My comment was aimed more at a few folks who were less than thrilled with my root-maggot fly from last week. I will be posting a spider soon for your pleasure sir. 🙂

      No, I didn’t know that. I wonder if they use it as a come hither sign to potential breeding partners. 🙂


  8. BuntyMcC says:

    So the butterflies are on swamp milkweed? I’ve never seen the plant before, but I understand a nearby eco forestry project has planted some. (The butterflies are lovely, too.)


    • No, this is common milkweed that grows in my yard. But they can be found on swamp milkweed as well. The more milkweed that is planted the better off we all are. I am glad to hear about your local project.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m envious of your butterfly photos. Such a wonderful lens. And, yes the hairstreaks are tiny. Really tiny. I’m also glad that you have host milkweed plants for the Monarchs. Maybe one day they’ll find your hosts again – but the way things are looking it looks to be a dire situation for the Monarchs. It makes me sick to think about what is happening to our planet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This was not my usual combination, Yvonne. I have an older 40D and a rarely used 100 macro that I keep on the counter with a flash attached for insects in our yard. The flash helps to freeze the action at 1/200th sec. and helps to mitigate the contrast from the bright afternoon sun.
      Monarchs are just the tip of the iceberg, Yvonne. I am not happy about much that we are doing with our only home. One of these days the balance will just tip and we’ll be in deep manure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I am also troubled by everything else. It isn’t just about the birds and bees. Human are at the top of the food chain and brains but is seems that only a very few people are in touch with what’s happening. I don” use any chemicals on my property, recycle everything that is accepted in my city, don’t take trips, buy sed clothing but I splurge on really good shoes. I’m conservative with electricity and water. And yet,I feel that I’m not doing enough. If only the politicians and governments would get with it. We need population control desperately, yet no country seems to have considered the impact on the earth. of too many people. It’s sad that human numbers are increasing and wildlife is decreasing. I think we are already in dire straights.

        I’m off my soap box now, Sorry about the rant here.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rant away, Yvonne. I’m in your choir. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. shoreacres says:

    I found a roadside with a good bit of milkweed a few weeks ago. It was such a pleasure to see. I haven’t been back, so I don’t know if the county has done its worst, but I do know that the trumpet vine and sunflowers they’ve done their best to eradicate are back with a vengeance.

    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a hairstreak. Perhaps I have, without recognizing it. The next time I see something brown and fluttery, I’ll take a better look. Before I started reading all these blogs, I assumed everything brown was a moth. At least I’ve got that straightened out.

    Liked by 2 people

    • One of milkweed’s advantages, which Mary Beth was just bemoaning this morning, is their spread underground which makes it hard to eradicate. And if they go to seed, look out once they dry and a wind comes up. Instant milkweed meadow which I think is a good thing. 🙂

      There are a few brown butterflies. Here is one. There are also a few that have brown as part of their name.


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