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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chasing the Blues

spring azure butterfly

Going outside is always a good way to chase away the blues, but that's not what I have in mind here. Can you find the little blue spot?

spring azure butterfly

This should help. Or not. Looks like a tiny, tiny blue bird, doesn't it? Well, sort of... it's a little blue butterfly. I'm pretty sure that it's a Spring Azure Blue, Celastrina ladon, or in older books, Lycaenopsis argiolus. They are flitting all over the field and lawn. They are probably drunk with the honeysuckle and autumn olive nectar, since they aren't fussy nectar feeders. But I sure couldn't get a good picture. They just don't hold still long, and if they do perch they close their wings and practically disappear since the undersides of most "blues" are dull gray to brown. They are only about an inch across with wings extended.

spring azure butterflyThere is a big push locally to plant more wild lupine, since it is a required food plant for the endangered Karner Blue butterfly, Lycaeides melissa samuelis. Since I don't have any lupine (I've tried twice to get some started here... seems like it would be perfectly happy), I didn't have any delusions that this would be the elusive Karner. It's easy to tell that it is not, since the Karner has a row of iridescent orange spots on the hindwings.

None of these pictures is really good. Maybe I'll get luckier another time. But I wanted to show something other than plants today. Finally, here is my favorite, even though the focus isn't crisp.

spring azure butterfly

See Today Brown, Tomorrow Green


Ratty said...

There are many times that I've hoped to get a picture of a butterfly that's even this good. The important thing is that we have a good idea of what it looks like, and it helped you tell your story of the Karner Blue butterfly..

RNSANE said...

It's good enough to give us an idea, Shark! What a pretty blue!

Secondary Roads said...

What a beautiful creature. Nice story and the pictures are fine.

Duxbury Ramblers said...

We should all be planting to help the bees and butterflies, plus all the other insects that help to pollinate our plants. Lovely butterfly.

Ann said...

It is a tiny little thing isn't it. I've tried to get butterfly pictures but they are always too quick for me.

Sharkbytes said...

Ratty- I long to get a picture of the Karner Blue. There are lots of local places where the lupine grows, but with hike prep, I doubt I can get there this year. But, yes, you can at least see what the Spring Azure looks like.

Carmen- I'm just a complete sucker for the little blues.

Chuck- There are a whole family of "blues." Hope I can catch some of the others some time.

Carol- there is a big push here to plant more lupine. It grows wild in the woods (mostly edges) quite a lot, but since the Karner Blue must have it, more would be good. But it's very hard to get started.

Ann- You almost have to catch it in flight because it all but disappears when it lands.

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