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