Mexico, USA & Canada
Family - LYCAENIDAE
Massachusetts, USA ©
About 120 members of the cosmopolitan subfamily
Polyommatinae are found in the Americas, most of found in the Andes.
About 30 species occur in North America - the exact number is
uncertain as there is conjecture regarding the taxonomic status of
The genus Glaucopsyche consists of 18
species variously distributed across the temperate regions of the
northern hemisphere. There are 3 species in North America:
are pale shining blue on the upperside, often with a violet tinge.
The borders of the wings are narrow and dark brown, fringes with
white. In females the blue is usually confined to the basal third of
the wings, and there is often a dark vertical bar visible at the end
of the forewing discal cell. The underside ground colour is grey in
males, and tends more towards greyish-brown in females. The black
spots vary considerably in size even within a given subspecies. They
are most prominent however in the Nova Scotia race
mildredae. In the extinct Californian
taxon xerces the black centres to the
spots were absent, leaving conspicuous blank white spots in their
is widely distributed across North America, from Quebec and Nova
Scotia to Mexico. There are 20 named subspecies.
This species can be found in a vast array of habitats including
deserts, dunes, marshes, clearings and glades in deciduous or
coniferous woodlands, meadows, prairies, grasslands, montane scree
slopes, roadsides and just about any other undisturbed habitat where
the larval foodplants grow.
The eggs are laid singly on the flowerbuds or leaves of
Vicia and other herbaceous Fabaceae. Often several eggs will
be laid on the same plant, or even on the same leaflet, by various
females or a single returning female. The larvae are tended by ants.
They are of the typical Lycaenid shape, and exist in various colour
forms according to subspecies, foodplant and habitat. Thus a larva
of subspecies incognitus feeding among
the purple flowers of Lupinus will have
a purplish-brown ground colour, while a larva of
australis feeding on
Lotus may be greenish-yellow. All
varieties have a thin dark dorsal stripe, and have suffused oblique
white markings on each segment. The pupa is normally dark brown with
greenish wing pads, and also occurs in a blackish form. Pupation
takes place on the ground but the pupa is soon covered with debris
by ants or transported to their nests.
adults visit a wide variety of plants for nectar, but favour
Lotus flowers and other Fabaceae. In late
afternoon they move to sheltered areas of ground where they roost in a
head-down posture on flowerheads.