Karner Blue (Plebejus melissa samuelis)
The Karner Blue is a subspecies of the small blue butterfly, and is found in a limited area in the United States. These are very small creatures, primarily seen hovering around the wild lupine plant fields and has been declared as endangered (‘At Risk G3’) by NatureServe.
- Family: Lycaenidae
- Genus: Plebejus
- Common names: Blue Karner Butterfly
- Scientific Name: Plebejus melissa samuelis
Description and Identification
The mature larva is uniformly green with a straight line running vertically across its body. They are only a few millimeters long, and after emerging, they crawl up the host plant and instantly begin consuming the leaves. This stage continues for three to four weeks before they form a chrysalis.
The chrysalis is light green, and the stage lasts for 8-11 days.
Sexual Dimorphism: Distinctly present
Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the dorsal part in the males display a silver or dark blue hue with thin, dark margins, while the females are gray-brown, mostly on the outer part, to blue on the top part, along with uneven orange bands narrowly bordered in black. When the wings are closed, the ventral part of both sexes is dull gray with an even band of orange crescents by the border of the wings, as well as, scattered black spots bordered with white.
Average wingspan: About 1 inch
Flight pattern: Fast, haphazard
Laid in late summer on a lupine plant; about 1 mm in diameter
|Distribution||Most widespread in Wisconsin, and can also be found in parts of New York, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and probably in Illinois as well|
|Habitat||Sunny fields, especially areas studded with wild lupines|
|Lifespan of adults||Reportedly 3 to 5 days|
|Host plants||Only wild lupine plant leaves|
|Adult diet||Flower nectar|