Greenish Blue (Plebeius saepiolus [Boisduval])
Wing span: 1 - 1 1/4 inches (2.5 - 3.2 cm)
Identification: Upperside of male iridescent green-blue; females brown with blue at wing bases. Underside is pale gray with green at wing bases and rows of irregular black spots.
Life history: Males patrol near the host plants, close to the ground. Eggs are laid in flower buds of clover; caterpillars eat the developing flowers. Half-grown caterpillars hibernate, then resume feeding and development the following year.
Flight: One flight from May-July.
Caterpillar hosts: Flowers of various clovers, especially alsike (Trifolium hybridum).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers including clovers (Trifolium species).
Habitat: Bogs, roadsides, stream edges, open fields, meadows, open forests.
Range: Boreal western North America from central Alaska south along mountains to southern California and southwestern New Mexico; east across southern Canada and northern Great Lakes area to Maine.
Conservation: The San Gabriel Blue, an undescribed subspecies, is extinct. It lived in wet meadows of the Big Pine Recreation Area in the San Gabriel mountains of southern California until the U. S. Forest Service drained the meadows.
Excluding the San Gabriel Blue, the species has The Nature Conservancy Global Rank of G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: Restore meadow habitat in Big Pine Recreation Area.
New, T. R., editor. 1993. Conservation Biology of Lycaenidae (Butterflies). International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Gland, Switzerland. 173 pages. Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates. Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. 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.