eastern tailed-blue

(Cupido comyntas)

Conservation Status
eastern tailed-blue
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Eastern tailed-blue is a small to medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of to 1.

On the male, the upperside of both wings is medium blue with a broad black marginal band and a white fringe. The hindwing has a hair-like tail and a row of submarginal black spots on the trailing edge. One or two of the spots near the tail are capped with orange. One or both of the tails are sometimes missing, having been lost to a predator. The female wings are similar but dark gray usually with no blue near the base.

The underside of both wings is light gray with a thin black margin on the trailing edge; a marginal row of black eye spots; a post-median row of black dots rimmed with white; and a well-defined, short, black, horizontal, medial stripe. The forewing has additional medial, white-rimmed black spots; and orange caps on usually 2, sometimes 3, of the marginal eye spots near the tail. There is no blue eyespot near the outer angle.

The eyes are black.

The antennae are black-and-white striped with a white-tipped club.

The caterpillar is wide, somewhat flattened, and short, no more than long. The head is small. It is retracted into the thorax except when feeding. The thorax and abdomen are moderately covered with conspicuous, usually white, sometimes black, star-shaped hairs.. The thorax and abdomen are variable in color; sometimes green, sometimes brown tinged with yellow, pink, green, rose, or purple. There is usually a dark brown stripe on the upper (dorsal) surface extending from the thorax to abdominal segment 10. There is also a prominent dark stripe, sometimes edged in pink, in the subspiracular area extending from the thorax to abdominal segment 10. The are dare, ill-defined, oblique lines above the spiracles on thoracic segment 3 and abdominal segments 1 through 6. Mature caterpillars are found from June onward.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: ½

Wingspan: to 1

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Western tailed-blue (Cupido amyntula amyntula) male has only one orange-capped black spot on the underside of the hindwing near the tail. The female has some blue at the base of the wings.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Old fields, pastures, forest clearings, powerline cuts, roadsides, and other open areas.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Three broods, mid-May to late September.

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Adults often rest with wings open at a 45° angle..

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

The females lay eggs singly on flowers and young leaves, or in spring on immature flowering buds. Larvae molt four times before pupating. Late season individuals overwinter as mature larvae, often in seedpods, and pupate in the spring.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Buds, flowers, seeds, and sometimes leaves of bush clover (Lespedeza spp.), clover (Trifolium spp.), lupine (Lupinus spp.), pea (Lathyrus spp.), sweet clover (Meliotis spp.), tick-trefoil (Desmodium spp.), vetch (Vicia spp.), and other herbaceous legumes.

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Adults have a short tube-like tongue (proboscis) and must nectar on flowers that are open or have short tubes, such as white sweet clover (Melilotus albus), white clover (Trifolium repens), beggarticks (Bidens spp.), spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium), cinquefoil (Potentilla spp.), strawberry (Fragaria spp.).

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 20, 21, 24, 29, 71.

 
  5/22/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
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)  
 

Tribe

Polyommatini  
 

Genus

Cupido  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Everes comyntas

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

eastern tailed-blue

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Pupa

The life stage of some insects undergoing transformation. In caterpillars, the chrysalis.

 

Spiracle

A small opening on the surface of an insect through which the insect breathes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Dave Schmiginsky

 
    eastern tailed-blue      
 

Alfredo Colon

 
    eastern tailed-blue      
 

Wayne Rasmussen

 
    eastern tailed-blue      
 

John Shier

 
    eastern tailed-blue      
 

Tom Baker

 
    eastern tailed-blue   eastern tailed-blue  
 

Crystal Boyd

 
    eastern tailed-blue      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    eastern tailed-blue   eastern tailed-blue  
           
    eastern tailed-blue   eastern tailed-blue  
           
    eastern tailed-blue   eastern tailed-blue  
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)  
Everes comyntas (Eastern Tailed-Blue)
Allen Chartier
  Everes comyntas (Eastern Tailed-Blue)  
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
  Eastern Tailed-Blue  
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Other Videos
 
  Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly (Lycaenidae: Cupido comyntas) Worn Female
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Published on May 27, 2012

Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (26 May 2012).

 
  Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)
Timothy Ng
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 12, 2012

The first one is female. The 2nd one is male with blue upperside.

Kissena Corridor Park, New York City, 8/12/2012 (Sun) afternoon.

camera: Panasonic GH2 + 100-300mm lens

 
  Eastern Tailed Blue
caterpillarnana
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 17, 2013

Got wet for this one

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this insect.

 
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Be sure to include a location.
 
  Dave Schmiginsky
7/7/2020

Location: Kandiyohi County, MN

eastern tailed-blue  
  Alfredo Colon
9/29/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

eastern tailed-blue  
  Wayne Rasmussen
8/19/2018

Location: Joy Park, Maplewood, MN

eastern tailed-blue  
  Crystal Boyd
6/2/2013

Location: Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

eastern tailed-blue  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

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