hairstreak


hairstreak
/hair"streek'/, n.
any small, dark butterfly of the family Lycaenidae, having hairlike tails on the hind wings.
[1810-20; HAIR + STREAK]

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Any butterfly in the subfamily Theclinae (family Lycaenidae), sometimes known as gossamer-winged butterflies.

Adults are delicate and have a 0.75–1.5-in. (18–38-mm) wingspan. Rapid fliers, hairstreaks usually have iridescent wings and are typically brown or gray with delicate stripes on the bottoms of the wings. Larvae are short, broad, and sluglike. Some species eat plants, many are cannibals, and still others secrete honeydew, a sweet by-product of digestion that attracts ants. Found in open areas on every continent, hairstreaks are most abundant in the New World tropics.

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insect
      any of a group of insects in the gossamer-winged butterfly family, Lycaenidae (order Lepidoptera), that are distinguished by hairlike markings on the underside of the wings. The hairstreaks are small and delicate with an 18 to 38 mm (0.75 to 1.5 inch) wingspan, are found in open areas, and are usually iridescent gray or brown. They frequently have one or more thin, taillike extensions on the hindwings. The male's forelegs are reduced, but the female's are fully developed. These erratic fliers occur on every continent but are most abundant in the New World tropics. The only hairstreak of economic significance is the green or reddish brown larva of the North American gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus), which bores into fruit and seeds.

      Hairstreak larvae are short, broad, and sluglike. Some species eat plant material, whereas others are cannibalistic. Some secrete honeydew, a sweet by-product of digestion that attracts ants. The ants stroke, or “milk,” the larva with their legs to stimulate honeydew secretion.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hairstreak — Hair streak ( str[=e]k ), n. A butterfly of the genus {Thecla}; as, the green hairstreak ({Thecla rubi}). [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hairstreak — [her′strēk΄] n. any of a number of small, usually dark colored butterflies (family Lycaenidae) with each hind wing commonly having narrow taillike projections …   English World dictionary

  • hairstreak — Thecla Thec la, n. Any one of many species of small delicately colored butterflies belonging to {Thecla} and allied genera; called also {hairstreak}, and {elfin}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hairstreak — noun a butterfly with a narrow streak or row of dots on the underside of the hindwing. [Callophrys rubi (green hairstreak) and other species.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • hairstreak — noun Date: 1815 any of a subfamily (Theclinae of the family Lycaenidae) of small butterflies usually having striped markings on the underside of the wings and thin filamentous projections from the hind wings …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • hairstreak — noun Any of many butterflies, of the subfamily Theclinae, that have hairlike projections on the back wings …   Wiktionary

  • hairstreak — n. type of small dark butterfly …   English contemporary dictionary

  • hairstreak — hair•streak [[t]ˈhɛərˌstrik[/t]] n. ent any small, dark butterfly of the family Lycaenidae, having hairlike tails on the hind wings • Etymology: 1810–20 …   From formal English to slang

  • hairstreak — /ˈhɛəstrik/ (say hairstreek) noun any of certain small dark butterflies of the family Lycaenidae, distinguished by one or two thin tails on each of the hind wings …   Australian English dictionary

  • hairstreak — n. a butterfly of the genus Strymonidia etc. with fine streaks or rows of spots on its wings …   Useful english dictionary