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.
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:
Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown. 1980. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. University of Oklahoma Press. Norman. Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo. Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.