|scientific name Celastrina ladon lucia |
common name Boreal Spring Azure
Found throughout riparian areas, open woodlands and meadows in Alberta.
Adults fly from April to July; peaking in May (Bird et al., 1995).
The Celastrina ladon species complex contains many species and subspecies whose identity is currrently under research. It is a small blue, with a wingspan of 22-35 mm. Adults are sexually dimorphic (Opler et al. 1995): the dorsal wing surface of males is blue, whereas females have broad, dark brown outer forewing margin. Ventral hindwing is variable and may be grey-white with faded small black dots, darker grey with larger black spots, or have blotches and black margins in the centre. This species can be distinguished from other blues by the absence of orange and metallic markings, by the poor definition of black marks, and the presence of dark marginal markings on the ventral wings.
Although Layberry et al (1998) treat lucia as a subspecies of ladon, the following sources provide evidence that these taxa are separate species: Pavulaan (1995), Kondla (1999), Nielsen (1999) and Oehlenschlager & Huber (2002).
The eggs are pale green (Bird et al. 1995, Guppy & Shepard 2001).
The larvae vary a great deal and can be green, yellow, pink, or brown, depending on their food source (Bird et al. 1995). The back of the larvae may be striped lengthwise with green or brown and spotted with white (Layberry et al. 1998, Guppy & Shepard 2001).
The pupae are light yellow-brown and may have different dark markings (Guppy & Shepard 2001). Pupae overwinter (Opler et al.1995) and have a single generation in British Columbia (Guppy & Shepard 2001). Males patrol and perch all day but are most active from mid-afternoon until dusk (Opler et al. 1995). Adults often mud puddle (Acorn 1993, Opler et al. 1995). Eggs are laid singly on flower buds (Opler et al. 1995, Layberry et al. 1998). Larvae feed on flowers and fruits and are tended by ants (Acorn 1993, Idaho Museum of Natural History 2000, Guppy & Shepard 2001).
Common and widespread; provincial rank S5 and "Secure" status.
Unknown in Alberta. Larvae in this species complex feed on a wide variety of plants in North America including cherry, blueberry, Viburnum spp., dogwood, New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americana), meadowsweet (Spiraea salicifolia), and Collinsia. Pratt et al. (1994) state that lucia only feeds on one plant species in a single locality and they list only a few host plant species for the western populations.
Found throughout Alberta; however, populations in the grasslands are localised (Layberry et al., 1998). Its range extends from Alaska and Canada south, through most of the United States and in the mountains to Colombia, South America (Opler et al., 1995).
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