easterntailed blue (Cupido comyntas)
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed.
FAMILY: Gossamer-wing Butterflies (Lycaenidae)
SUBFAMILY: Blues (Polyommatinae)
IDENTIFICATION: One narrow tail on hindwing. Upperside of male
iridescent blue; summer females uniformly brown, spring females
smaller with much blue at the wing bases. Underside of hindwing pale
gray with black bar at end of cell, distinct black spots, and three large
orange spots at outer margin near tail.
LIFE HISTORY: Males patrol near the host plants during daylight hours.
Females lay eggs on flower buds; caterpillars eat buds, flowers, and
seeds. The caterpillar hibernates, pupating the following spring.
Although most Lycaenids do not perch with open wings, Eastern
Tailed-Blues sometimes bask with their wings at a 45 angle.
FLIGHT: Three broods from April-November in the north, many
broods from February-November in the south.
WING SPAN: 7/8 - 1 1/8 inches (2.2 - 2.9 cm).
CATERPILLAR HOSTS: Many plants in the pea family including yellow
sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis), alfalfa (Medicago sativa); various
species of vetch (Vicia), clover (Trifolium), wild pea (Lathyrus), and
bush clover (Lespedeza); and others.
ADULT FOOD: This butterfly has a low flight and a short proboscis, thus
is found at flowers close to the ground which are open or short-tubed.
These include white sweet clover, shepherd's needle, wild strawberry,
winter cress, cinquefoils, asters, and others.
HABITAT: Many open, sunny places including weedy areas and
RANGE: Southeast Canada and Eastern United States west to western
North Dakota, central Colorado, and central Texas. Also ranges from
southeastern Arizona, western New Mexico, and west Texas south to
CONSERVATION: Not usually required.
NATURESERVE GLOBAL STATUS: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally,
though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the
MANAGEMENT NEEDS: None reported.
SKY MEADOWS OCCURRENCE:
Note: Due to seasonal conditions in this region, occurrence may vary from
year to year. The designation of occurrence may range over two or more
categories and may vary even during a single season.
Key to Checklist
A Abundant: Easy to see very large numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
at proper time of year.
C Common: Usually each to see good numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
at proper time of year.
U Uncommon: Sometimes found in appropriate habitat and proper time of year,
usually in low numbers.
O Occasional: Found in appropriate habitat perhaps only a few times a year, usually
in low numbers.
R Rare: Small chance of being found, even in appropriate habitat at proper time of
year. There are few individuals and may not be present every year.
X Extirpated: Formerly present, no longer occurs in Sky Meadows Park.
Crooked Run Valley