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Butterflies of North America -- Plebeius [Icaricia] lupini

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Butterflies of North America

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

Lupine Blue (Plebeius [Icaricia] lupini)
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