Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus [Fabricius])
Wing span: 3/4 - 1 1/8 inches (2 - 3 cm).
Identification: Upperside of male light blue with a darker narrow border; female dark brown, often with wing bases blue. Underside gray; both wings with a row of dark postmedian dashes. Florida butterflies have one submarginal eyespot on hindwing; Southwest butterflies have two.
Life history: Males patrol during warm hours of the day for receptive females. Eggs are laid singly on flower buds or leaves of host plant; caterpillars feed on flowers and seedpods.
Flight: Throughout the year in Texas and south Florida, late summer in other parts of its range.
Caterpillar hosts: A variety of woody legumes including partridge pea (Cassia brachiata), mesquite (Prosopis species), and rosary pea (Abrus precatorius).
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Open woodland, desert scrub, dunes, pastures, road edges, and vacant lots.
Range: U. S. Southwest, South Texas, Florida and the Keys south through the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America to South America. Strays to North Carolina, Missouri, Kansas, and Nevada.
Conservation: Not usually required.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: None reported.
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:
Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON. 280 pp. Mather, B. and Mather, K. 1958. The Butterflies of Mississippi. Tulane Studies in Zoology 6:63-109. Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.