eastern tailed-blue

(Cupido comyntas)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

eastern tailed-blue

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common

Flight/Season

Three broods, mid-May to late September.

Habitat

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

Size

Total Length: ½

Wingspan: to 1

 

Identification

This 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.

 
Similar
Species

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


Larval Food

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.).

 
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.

 
Behavior

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


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 7, 20, 21, 24, 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)

 

Tribe:

Polyommatini

 
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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John Shier


  eastern tailed-blue    

Tom Baker


  eastern tailed-blue   eastern tailed-blue

Crystal Boyd


  eastern tailed-blue    

       
       

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  eastern tailed-blue   eastern tailed-blue
       
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  Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)  
     
  Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)
Bill Keim
 
  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

     

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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

   
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Crystal Boyd
6/2/2013

Location: Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

eastern tailed-blue


Tom Baker
8/21/2011

 

eastern tailed-blue


Tom Baker
6/4/2011

 

eastern tailed-blue


     
     
 

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