S. istapa life history
Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak (Strymon istapa) Life History

5-17-09; two eggs on M. coromandelium; caterpillar of study eclosed from right egg

5-20-09, two-day-old caterpillar

5-24-09, the caterpillar makes a mess as it half-buries itself  in the fruit while feeding. (Picture taken just before moving the caterpillar to a fresh, clean plant.)


5-27-09, chrysalis

5-31-09; fully developed caterpillar

6-1-09, beginning pupation

6-3-09, chrysalis

Fresh Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, 6-11-09

While gathering Threelobe False Mallow (Malvastrum coromandelianum) to feed a skipper caterpillar I was raising, I found a small hairstreak caterpillar (pictured below). It had eaten two holes in the side of a flower bud, and apparently was eating the unopened flower.

Young larva taking color
of blossom, 5-18-09;
even the frass is orange!

About that time I also found some eggs that proved to be those of a Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak. One of these eclosed on 5-18-09, but I was unable to find the caterpillar until 5-20. This caterpillar preferred the fruit, or green seeds, of the plant to its flowers, and so it never took on the orange color of the one in the above picture.

The caterpillars and pupae of S. istapa are very similar in appearance to those of S. melinus. To my eye, the istapa caterpillars seem a bit more velvety or fuzzy, and the side stripe is a bit more obvious. However, I was not certain these were istapa until I saw the first adult.

The caterpillar formed a pupa 15 days after eclosing and emerged twelve days later.

Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak Page