Sunday, November 14, 2010

Eastern-tailed Blue

The Blue butterflies (Polyommatina) are a subfamily of the Lycaenidae, or gossamer-wings, family. The gossamer-wing family consists of approximately 6000 species world wide with about 100 of these in North America. They include the blue, copper, harvester and hairstreak subfamilies. All of the gossamer-wing butterflies are relatively small. The males have reduced forelegs so they walk around on only four legs while the females, as in these pictures, have six normal sized legs which they walk on.
The eastern tailed-blue is the most common blue that we find in my area. It is pretty easy to identify the eastern tailed-blue because it is one of only two types of blues have a small hair-like tail at the base of the hindwing. The only other tailed-blue is the western tailed-blue and they have either one or no orange spot on the underside of the hind wing above the tail, compared to the two orange spots on the eastern tailed-blue. I photographed this blue on the shores of the ST Croix at the Carpenter Nature Center.

9 comments:

Míriam Luiza said...

borboleta linda, e eu aprendi algo sobre ela agora!

Poetic Shutterbug said...

Love the coloring and thanks for the info

Kala said...

That pair of orange spots is so lovely. Nature is amazing.

Maaike said...

a pretty butterfly!
nice

"Lillagul" said...

Great shots !
Nature sure is amazing !

Bom said...

Such delicate wings. The orange markings are enough to catch one's eye. The details in your second picture are remarkable, one can see the striations in the antennae and feet.

KaHolly said...

Such a sweet little thing! I've just arrived in TX and there are butterflies everywhere, but haven't had much success with any of them posing nicely! ~karen

Kerri said...

Gorgeous capture! I never knew that about the legs .... very interesting!

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Curious. Where did you get your information about reduced front legs in male blues? I've read this once before in one of Glassberg's Butterflies through Binoculars with regard to brush-footed butterflies (which would make sense), but he seemed to mention males specifically. I haven't been able to find any other information about this leggy sexual dimorphism. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.