Butterflies of Mexico,
USA & Canada
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Mouse Creek, 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.
Both sexes of
nivalis are easily identified from their lilac-edged pale
yellow underside hindwings. On the upperside males are pale earthy
brown with a pinkish-copper iridescence. Females are bright metallic
copper with dark borders, and have prominent black spots in the
usual Lycaena pattern.
is found in the western states of the USA.
This species inhabits open woodland, rocky valley bottoms and
sagebrush, usually close to streams.
The egg is
bluish-white. It is laid singly on leaves or stems of
Polygonum ( Polygonaceae ). When fully
grown the larva is green, with a yellow-edged red line along the
back. The pupa is pale buff, speckled with brown.
perch with wings held half-open in shallow depressions, ready to
intercept passing females. Both sexes nectar at a wide range of
male, Phillips Ridge, Teton Pass, Wyoming, USA
© Frank Model