Butterflies of Mexico,
USA & Canada
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
male, Taggart Lake, Grand Teton
national park, Wyoming, USA
© Frank Model
current classification of the genus Lycaena
is unsatisfactory and in need of revision. The genus is loosely
split into several unofficial groupings, which ultimately will be
classified as sub-genera or new genera. Under existing
classification there are about 70 Lycaena
species, variously distributed across temperate regions of the
world. There are 17 species in North America.
This species is easily confused
with dorcas, but has a more pointed
apex and the post-median spots are further away from the wing base.
The purple iridescence of males varies in intensity from one
individual to another, and is almost absent in some specimens.
Females are orange with broad dark margins and more heavily spotted
than males. They are normally devoid of any purple sheen, and have
more rounded wings.
is found in Alaska, western Canada, and over most of the northern
and western states of the USA.
This species inhabits meadows and fields, lakesides and other damp
habitats, woodland glades and coastal marshes.
The egg is
greenish-white. It is laid singly on the leaves of
Rumex ( Polygonaceae ). When fully grown the larva is green,
with yellowish lateral and dorsal stripes, and oblique yellow bars
along the sides. The pupa is yellowish-green with a thin black
dorsal line and cream coloured wing pads.
perch with wings held half-open in shallow depressions, ready to
intercept passing females. Both sexes nectar at a wide range of
plants, but have a fondness for Achillea
( Asteraceae ).
male Taggart Lake, Grand Teton national park, Wyoming, USA
© Frank Model