Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak (Strymon istapa [Fabricius])
Wing span: 7/8 - 1 1/4 inches (2.2 - 3.2 cm).
Identification: One short hindwing tail. Upperside dark gray; female with blue-gray at lower half of hindwing. Underside hindwing gray with one round black spot near base of costa, postmedian row of small black dots.
Life history: Caterpillars eat stems and young leaves of host plant.
Flight: All year; number of broods has not been determined.
Caterpillar hosts: Plants in mallow family (Malvaceae) including alkali mallow (Sida hederacea) and coastal Indian mallow (Abutilon permolle); also bay cedar (Suriana maritima).
Adult food: Nectar from small-flowered trees and composites, croton.
Habitat: Open disturbed areas, second growth, weedy pastures, roadsides.
Range: Brazil north through Central America, the West Indies, and Mexico to southern California, southern Arizona, South Texas, and peninsular Florida.
Conservation: Any limited U. S. populations may require conservation.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: Maintain present habitats and manage for necessary host and nectar plants.
Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates. Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates. Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Neck, R.W. 1996. A Field Guide to Butterflies of Texas. Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, Texas. Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo. Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Tveten, J. and Tveten, G. 1996. Butterflies of Houston & Southeast Texas. Univ. of Texas Press, Austin, TX. 292 pp.