Summer Azure (Celastrina neglecta)
The Summer Azure is a beautiful North American light blue butterfly that belongs to the Lycaenidae family, among 60,000 others. Frequently seen hovering around the flowers in the gardens, it is enjoyable to watch these creatures fluttering high and low through the branches of trees. These are one of the smallest butterflies of the continent.
Description and Identification
The larva is usually light green, but sometimes whitish green too, with a backbone-like mark in varied combinations of light maroon, dark green and yellow, from the head to the end of its body. The creature, like most other species, consumes the leaves of its host plant, as well as the flowers.
The chrysalis is light brown with random dark spots all over its body. The combination of colors and the texture of its body cover give it the look of a dead or dry leaf. This adaptation helps them stay camouflaged throughout this stage.
Sexual Dimorphism: Prominently present
Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the dorsal surface in a male looks pale blue along with a fine dusting of white scales all over the four wings. Some females have white in place of blue. In such cases, there is a hint of blue at the bases of the wings. The forewings of most females, however, have a wide dark grey band on the costa and the outer third. When the wings are closed, the ventral side is somewhat chalky white to dull grey accompanied by very small grey spots along with a submarginal line on the hindwing.
Average wingspan: 23 – 29 mm (0.91 – 1.14 in)
Flight pattern: Fast and randomly fluttering up and down
Round in shape with a light whitish turquoise hue and is laid singly on the young flower buds
|Distribution||Most regions in eastern and central United States, as also, towards the southern areas of Canada|
|Habitat||Different kinds of habitats including gardens, stream valleys, woodland areas, wet marshes, powerline right of ways, and fields|
|Lifespan of adults||Only a few weeks|
|Host plants||Racemose dogwood, New Jersey Tea, and other similar plants|
|Adult diet||Flower petals, flower nectar, buds|
Did You Know?
- The caterpillars of the species share a symbiotic relationship with the ants. While the larva supplies the ants with a sweet secretion from their abdomens to eat, the ants, in turn, protect the creature from its enemies.