Melissa blue

(Plebejus melissa melissa)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed Melissa blue

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure

Occurrence

 

Flight/Season

Two broods: late May to June; and August.

Habitat

Open, weedy areas, meadows, and prairies.

Size

Wing span: to 1

 

 

 

 


Identification

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.

 
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.


Larval Food

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

 

 
Life Cycle

 

 
Behavior

 


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 7, 20, 21, 29, 71.

Comments

 


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)

 
Synonyms

Lycaeides melissa melissa

Lycaena melissa

 
Common
Names

Melissa blue

orange-bordered blue


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

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