Home / Gossamer-Winged (Lycaenidae) / Mission Blue (Aricia icarioides missionensis)

Mission Blue (Aricia icarioides missionensis)


Mission Blue Butterfly

The Mission Blue is a subspecies of the Boisduval’s Blue Butterfly and has been extremely rare, with their population decreasing dramatically especially because of habitat loss. These are tiny to small-size butterflies, with the males being more attractive to the butterfly enthusiasts, having a silver-blue to violet-blue coloration (as opposed to the brown females). The flight period of the adults lasts from March to June.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Lycaenidae
  • Genus: Aricia
  • Scientific Name: Aricia icarioides missionensis

Description and Identification


Mission Blue Butterfly Larvae

The mature larva has a light green coloration as an adaptation to help it camouflage effectively within the greens. It has a segmented body with diagonal white bars on each of the segments. It is very small in size and can rarely be seen.


Mission Blue Butterfly Pupa

The mission blue chrysalis has a light green color with a thin black line towards the head region from where it hangs downwards from one point, remaining attached to the underside of the leaves of the host plant.

Adult Butterfly

Sexual Dimorphism: Present

Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the dorsal side of the wings in the male display a light blue coloration, whereas the female shows a rather brownish hue with some blue. Both the sexes have dark wing edges. When the wings are closed, the ventral side of the wings exhibits an off-white hue with a pair of rows of black spots with irregular shapes.

Aricia Icarioides Missionensis
Mission Blue Butterfly Images

Average wingspan: 21–33 mm (0.83–1.3 in)

Flight pattern: Very fast and erratic


Mission Blue Butterfly Eggs

Light cyan-white with a spherical shape and a rough, irregular surface. It is laid one at a time on the host plant.

Quick Facts

Distribution Only in and around California, USA
Habitat Coastal grasslands
Lifespan of adults Around one week
Host plants Only the plants from the lupine family
Adult diet Flower nectar especially those of the sunflower family

Did You Know?

  • The US federal government had declared the mission blue butterfly as endangered back in June 1976, while the NatureServe has enlisted it as ‘Critically Imperiled’ (category ‘T1’).
The Mission Blue Butterfly
Mission Blue Butterfly Host Plant
Mission Blue Butterfly Habitat

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Scientific Classification

  • Family: Lycaenidae
  • Genus: Aricia
  • Scientific Name: Aricia icarioides missionensis
Published by Poppy Glendening on May 9, 2019.
Last Updated: October 15, 2023. ✅ Verified by: Butterfly Team