|scientific name Vacciniina optilete |
common name Cranberry Blue
Found in or near acidic bogs where cranberries (Vaccinium spp.) are abundant.
One yearly brood, flying from late June to early August, peaking in mid July.
Somewhat similar to Melissa and Northern Blues (Lycaeides melissa and idas), but the Cranberry Blue has only two to three orange marginal spots on the hindwing underside, not a complete band extending onto the forewing.
This species also occurs in Eurasia, and the North American populations have been named subspecies yukona. In their world revision of polyomatine blues, Balint & Johnson (1997) synonymize the genus Vaciniina under Albulina, so a better name may be Albulina optilete.
The early stages are undescribed for North American populations; in Scandinavia, the egg is white and mature larvae are green with a dark green dorsal line and purple-bordered, yellow lateral stripes. The pupa is pale green with short red hairs (Henriksen and Kreutzer 1982). Partially grown larvae hibernate and complete development the following spring (Henriksen and Kreutzer 1982).
A localized species with few known colonies; "Special Concern" in BC (Guppy & Shepard 2001).
No North American larval foodplant records are available; in Europe, the eggs are laid on Vaccinium uliginosum (Henriksen and Kreutzer 1982), which is rare in Alberta (Moss 1992). Other Vaccinium species are probably used.
The North American range includes Alaska south to central Manitoba; it also occurs from central Europe to Siberia and Japan (Layberry et al. 1998). In Alberta, it occurs in local colonies south to Pigeon Lake and Elk Island National Park (Schmidt unpubl. data).
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