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Spring Azures Mating

5-12-16  spring azures mating 074Every spring tiny, delicate blue butterflies known as Spring Azures (Celastrina ladon) are one of the first butterflies one sees.  Your impression of this butterfly depends on the angle from which you view it.  From above, the wings are a bright, pale blue (females’ have a dark border).  From beneath, the wings are very pale and lightly marked with brown speckling.  Thus, at rest or mating (as pictured) with wings folded vertically, they are not as startling to the eye as when they are seen flying.

After spending the winter as pupa, encased within a chrysalis, the adult emerges, mates and the females lay eggs.  The larva, or caterpillar, is slug-shaped, and is tended by ants which stimulate it to excrete a clear greenish “honeydew” which they consume.  (It is thought that the ants discourage parasitism by wasps and flies.)

At one time all North American azures were considered to be one species but now they have been identified as several different, but very similar, species collectively referred to as the “Spring Azure complex.”

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13 responses

  1. Marilyn

    They’re very discreet, compared to snapping turtles!

    May 13, 2016 at 8:09 am

  2. I just learned more about the spring azure in 30 seconds than in 40 years of reading books on butterflies! Thanks. Mary!

    May 13, 2016 at 9:20 am

  3. Deborah Luquer

    Spring and Mary Holland. The best combination !

    May 13, 2016 at 10:04 am

    • I am so flattered – no way can I compare to what’s happening outside right now, but thank you, Deborah!

      May 13, 2016 at 5:23 pm

  4. tom

    best recipe for munningbird feeders?

    May 13, 2016 at 10:08 am

    • Assuming you meant hummingbirds, one sugar to four waters does the trick!

      May 13, 2016 at 5:20 pm

  5. k

    They look like a little chip of sky. Beautiful.

    May 13, 2016 at 10:46 am

  6. Guy Stoye

    Dear Mary As usual, nice post re. the Spring Azures today. We just returned from the Elaine Conners Center for Wildlife in Madison, N.H. where we brought one of 13 goslings we found which had been bullied by his siblings and was alone on shore with injured or malformed leg. Should not have named him (“Friday 13th”) as it hurt even more to hand him over but keeping him/her would have been terribly demanding and also illegal. Here is photo I took this morning before we left for Madison. We were given some hints by phone as to how to care for him until we could deliver him to the center. This included placing a mirror in the container and it seemed obvious that the little bird found some solace to have a “cage mate”. Use the photo if you have any use for it. Best wishes Guy Stoye On May 13, 2016, at 7:39 AM, Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wro

    n te:

    > >

    May 13, 2016 at 3:08 pm

  7. One of my favorite little flutterbutts!

    May 13, 2016 at 10:33 pm

  8. I have a spring azure tattoo, as a memorial to my son. I think he’s visiting every time I see one go by! I would post a photo if I knew how to do it.

    May 15, 2016 at 9:39 am

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