Eastern Tailed Blue (Cupido comyntas)
The Eastern Tailed Blue is a species of small butterflies native to parts of the United States. Interestingly, these butterflies, as well as their other stages, can be of various colors. These butterflies are distinguished by a pair of narrow tails on each of their hindwings.
- Family: Lycaenidae
- Genus: Cupido
- Common names: Eastern tailed-blue
- Scientific Name: Cupido comyntas
Description and Identification
Mature larvae can be of various colors ranging from light tan or gray to green and pinkish olive. After hatching, the caterpillars hibernate during winter. They consume buds, flowers, and seeds.
The pupa is formed during springtime, after the period of hibernation of the caterpillar is over. They hang from the tender green leaves of their host plant.
Sexual Dimorphism: Distinctly present
Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the males of the species generally display an iridescent blue hue on the upper side, whereas the females are either lighter blue to brown, or else have a charcoal coloration. However, the coloration varies between both the males and the females including varied shades of pink and purple. When the wings are closed, the underside of the wings can display a variety of shades ranging from tan to blue-white. Two or three black to orange chevron-shaped marks on the rear side of the secondary wings, as also a trailing tail from the innermost one of the marks are also seen.
Average wingspan: 21 to 29 mm (0.83 to 1.14 in)
Flight pattern: Fast, at a low height
They are laid especially on flower buds. There are usually three broods a year.
|Distribution||Everywhere in the eastern part of North America|
|Habitat||Open, sunny places like weedy areas and disturbed habitats|
|Host plants||Several varieties of legumes, including vetches and clover|
|Adult diet||Nectar from flowers including wild strawberry, winter cress, sweet white clover, cinquefoils, asters, shepherd’s needle, etc.|
Did You Know?
- Unlike most other members of the Lycaenid group, these small butterflies perch with open wings at an angle of 45° while basking.
- They are known to secrete a chemical compound that is favored by some species of ants. The ants, in turn, protect the caterpillar from other predators.