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Butterflies of California -- Plebeius [Icaricia] lupini

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of California

Lupine Blue (Plebeius [Icaricia] lupini)
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Lupine Blue (Plebeius lupini [Boisduval])

Wing span: 7/8 - 1 1/8 inches (2.2 - 2.9 cm).

Identification: Upperside of male lilac blue with wide dark borders; female dark brown. Band at hindwing outer margin wide, orange-red, in male may be divided into separate chevrons.

Life history: Males patrol near the host plants for females. Eggs are laid singly on flowers, which the caterpillars eat. Second-stage caterpillars hibernate.

Flight: In the Sierra Nevada of California, one flight from June-August; elsewhere, several flights from March-July.

Caterpillar hosts: Several species of perennial wild buckwheat including sulfur flower (Eriogonum umbellatum) and flat top (Eriogonum fasciculatum) in the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Alpine slopes, mountain meadows and slopes, prairies, rocky outcrops, chaparral, and sagebrush.

Range: Southwestern Canada south through much of mountainous and intermountain West and high plains to northern Mexico.

Conservation: Several populations, some unnamed, are highly local, and are of conservation concern.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Management needs: Monitor status of populations, conserve habitats, and be vigilant for effects of exotic weeds.

References:

Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford  University Press, 
    Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.

Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies.  Houghton-Mifflin Co., 
    Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

State and Regional References:

Brown, J.W., Real, H.G., and D.K. Faulkner. 1992. Butterflies of Baja 
     California. Lepidoptera Research Foundation, Beverly Hills, Calif.

Comstock, J.A. 1927. Butterflies of California. Privately published, Los 
     Angeles, Calif. [Facsimile available from 	Entomological Reprint 
     Specialists, Los Angeles, Calif.]

Dameron, W. 1997. Searching for butterflies in southern California.
     Flutterby Press, Los Angeles, Calif.

Emmel, T.C. Editor. 1998. Systematics of western North American butterflies.
     Mariposa Press, Gainesville, Florida.

Emmel, T. C. and J. F. Emmel. 1973. The Butterflies of Southern California. 
     Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Science Series No. 26.

Garth, J.S. and J.W. Tilden. 1986. California Butterflies.  California Natural
     History Guide 51. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los 
     Angeles.
     
Langston, R.L. 1981. The Rhopalocera of Santa Cruz Island, California. Journal
     of Research on the Lepidoptera 18: 24-35.     

Miller, Scott E. 1985. Butterflies of the Califorenia Channel Islands. Journal
     of the Research on the Lepidoptera 23: 282-296.     

Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised 
     edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.

Orsak, L.J. 1977. The Butterflies of Orange County, California. Museum of 
     Systematic Biology, University of california, Irvine.

Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. 
     Privately published, Denver, Colo.

Steiner, J. 1990. Bay Area Butterflies: The Distribution and Natural History 
     of San Francisco Region Rhopalocera. Hayward, Calif.: Hayward State 
     University, Masters Thesis.

Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. 
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.

Tilden, J.W. 1965. Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay Region. California 
     Natural History Guide 12. University of California Press, Berkeley and 
     Los Angeles.
Lupine Blue (Plebeius [Icaricia] lupini)
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