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Butterflies of Virginia -- Leptotes cassius

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Virginia

Cassius Blue (Leptotes cassius)
JPG -- species photo

Cassius Blue (Leptotes cassius [Cramer])

Wing span: 3/4 - 1 3/8 inches (2 - 3.5 cm).

Identification: Upperside of males pale blue; females with white patches. Underside tan with broken pale lines; forewing inner margin has "blank" areas with no spots.

Life history: Eggs are laid singly on flower buds of the host plant; caterpillars eat flowers and seedpods. Predation and parasitism may be discouraged by ants, which tend the caterpillars and feed on their sugary secretions.

Flight: All through the year in southern Florida and South Texas. Number of broods has not been determined.

Caterpillar hosts: Ornamental leadwort (Plumbago capensis), rattlebox (Crotalaria incana), hairy milk pea (Galactia volubilis), and lima bean (Phaseolus limensis).

Adult food: Nectar from shepherd's needle, lippia, and many other flowers.

Habitat: Subtropical thorn scrub, forest edges, weedy fields, residential areas.

Range: Florida and the Keys; Texas south through the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America to South America. Strays to New Mexico, Kansas, Missouri, and South Carolina.

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.

References:

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.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

State and Regional References:

Glassberg,  J.  1993.  Butterflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to 
     Butterflies in the Boston-New York-Washington Region.  Oxford Univ. Press, 
     New York, N.Y.  160 pp.    

Clark, A.H. and Clark, L.F. 1951.  The Butterflies of Virginia.  Smithsonian
     Miscellaneous collection No. 116:1-239.

Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998.  The Butterflies of 
     Canada.  University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON.  280 pp. 
     
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format.
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.     

Woodbury, E.N.  1994.  Butterflies of Delmarva.  Delaware Nature Society, Inc., 
     Tidewater Publishers, Centreville, MD.  138 pp.  [NOTE: this book only 
     treats True Butterflies (Papilionoidea).  It does not treat Skippers 
     (Hesperioidea).]
Cassius Blue (Leptotes cassius)
distribution map
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