Melissa blue

(Plebejus melissa melissa)

Conservation Status
Melissa blue
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

The upper side of the female is brown with light blue scales and a white margin. There is a submarginal row of reddish-orange spots on both the hindwing and the forewing.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Wing span: to 1

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Karner blue (Plebejus melissa samuelis) female has no submarginal spots on the upper side of the forewing.

Northern blue (Plebejus idas) female has less blue on the upper side.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Open, weedy areas, meadows, and prairies.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Two broods: late May to June; and August.

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Various legumes of the pea family including Canadian milkvetch, Cooper’s milkvetch, ground plum, wild licorice, bird’s-foot trefoil, alfalfa, black medick, and, rarely, sundial lupine and bigleaf lupine.

Caterpillars eat young leaves and are tended by ants who feed on the caterpillars’ sugary secretions.

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 20, 21, 29, 71.

 
  7/9/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Papilionoidea (butterflies [excluding skippers])  
 

Family

Lycaenidae (gossamer-wings)  
 

Subfamily

Polyommatinae (blues)  
 

Genus

Plebejus  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Lycaeides melissa melissa

Lycaena melissa

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Melissa blue

orange-bordered blue

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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    Melissa blue      
           

 

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slideshow

       
 
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Other Videos
 
     
     
     
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
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MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

Binoculars


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