|scientific name Agriades glandon |
common name Arctic Blue
Alpine and subalpine meadows, sparsely vegetated grasslands and boreal sand dunes.
One yearly flight in the mountains in July and August, and during June on the prairies.
The only other Alberta blue with a large white patch (sometimes with a central black spot) in the middle of the hindwing underside is the Arrowhead Blue (Glaucopsyche piasus), but the Agriades blues are smaller, lack a checkered wing fringe, and have black discal spots on the upperside.
Subspecies megalo inhabits the mountains, and is darker overall with prominent underside black spots compared to the Rustic Blue (A. glandon rusticus) of the prairies and parkland. These two are most likely different species. Subspecies lacustris inhabits the Canadian Shield region in the far north, and is most similar to the mountain populations (contra Guppy & Shepard 2001).
This group of blues has been the subject of much taxonomic debate over the years, and the correct names for our species are as yet unresolved; many names have been applied to this species (Kondla & Schmidt 1991), most recently treated as subspecies of Agriades glandon or aquilo (Layberry et al. 1998, Opler 1999, Guppy & Shepard 2001), which were described from Europe. A growing body of evidence strongly suggests that there are at least two species here in Alberta, neither of which are the European glandon (C. Schmidt & N. Kondla, unpubl. data).
No data available for Rocky Mountain populations. Hardy (1963) provides a description of some of the early stages from Vancouver Island, BC: the white egg is slightly flattened dorsoventrally, and second instar larvae are tan-coloured with faint subdorsal lines and a wine-coloured head. Adult males often congregate to sip moisture at damp earth along roadisdes or mountain paths. Arctic Blues can be easy to miss because of their rapid flight close to the ground.
Not of concern.
The Arctic Blue lays eggs on Saxifrage (Saxifraga bronchialis and S. tricuspidata) in southwestern BC and the Yukon (Hardy 1963, Guppy & Shepard 2001). Adults will nectar on a variety of wildflowers.
Due to the unresolved taxonomy of this group, the range limits are not clear. The North American representatives of Agriades blues, in one form or another, range from northern Alaska to Newfoundland and south to central Manitoba and south through the American west to New Mexico (Guppy & Shepard 2001).
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