Thursday, January 24, 2013

Silvery Blue Butterfly


Silvery Blue ButterflySilvery Blue Butterfly are small, iridescent blue butterflies found in North America and Canada. Their wingspan is only 7 - 8 inch to 1 - 1/4 inch wide and they are found in a wide range of habitats, from coastal dunes and prairies. Although the species as a whole is abundant, is a subspecies (palosverdesensis) with extinction, with a rank of T1 by the Nature Conservancy (worldwide critically endangered by the extreme rarity), and another (xerces) is considered extinct. 


Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Division:     Rhopalocera
Phylum:     Arthropoda
Class:     Insecta
Order:     Lepidoptera
Family:     Lycaenidae
Tribe:     Polyommatini
Genus:     Glaucopsyche
Species:     G. lygamus

The upper wings of the male Silvery Blue Butterflies are bright blue with a dark gray border, which females are darker blue or gray in color with a wider rim. The undersides of the wings in both sexes are gray with black-rimmed white spots. The Silvery Blue Butterfly  is widespread in North America, found everywhere from Alaska to Massachusetts and far into Canada (as far as Nova Scotia). It is especially concentrated in the western and northern United States, but is found as far south as Georgia. 


Silvery Blue Butterfly caterpillars feed on host plants where the female butterflies lay their eggs. These plants may include vetch (Astragalus spp. Or Vicia spp.), Peas (Lathyrus spp.), Lupine (Lupinus spp.), And deer weed (Lotus scoparius). The adult Silvery Blue Butterfly feed on the nectar of various flowers. Silvery Blue Butterfly caterpillars have a special structure known as a "honey-gland," a sweet substance that attracts ants to feed on the separates. In what is known as a symbiotic relationship (meaning that both species benefit), the ants tend the larvae, protecting them from predators. 


The main threat to the Silvery Blue Butterfly is the destruction of habitat due to weeds and rototilling, adverse effects on the larval food plants is essential. Recreational, commercial or residential development of the Silvery Blue Butterfly is also a major problem in the preservation of food plants.

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