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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Hops Azure - Celastrina humulus


Global Rank: G2G3
State Rank: SNR

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General Description
[From Scott and Wright 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001] Forewing about 1.0-1.3 cm. Uppersurface of male powdery blue, female blue basally, suffused with varying amounts of white scaling, with extensive black on coastal and outer region of forewing and coastal region of hindwing. Undersurface white with small submarginal black marks surrounded by pale halos and capped with chevrons pointing inward, other spots scattered basally varying from almost absent (some females) to heavily marked (some males).

Phenology
One flight; late May to late July (depending on year), peak flight in June (Scott and Wright 1998). June and July (Glassberg 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by flight date and close proximity to host plant (hops). Helpful external features include uppersurface of female iridescent blue suffused with varying amounts of white scaling, undersurface white with small submarginal black marks surrounded by pale halos and capped with chevrons pointing inward, other spots scattered basally varying from almost absent to heavily marked.

Species Range
Montana Range

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Range Comments
Possibly endemic to Colorado, from Wyoming border south along eastern slope of Front Range foothills to Colorado Springs area (Scott and Wright 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Puntenney and Schorr 2016); 1737 m to 2438 m elevation in Colorado (Scott and Wright 1998). Not reported from Wyoming. Not reported from Montana until species formally described in 1998 (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993); reported since then (some reports retrospective) from five counties (Carbon, Lewis and Clark, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Yellowstone), most recently in late June 2008 (FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database). Range considered by most authorities as restricted to Colorado; Montana reports need reevaluation. Locally common (Glassberg 2001).

Migration
Non-migratory.

Habitat
Foothill canyon bottoms, rockslides, talus slopes, wooded and shrubby riparian floodplains; localized and near larval host plant (Scott and Wright 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Puntenney and Schorr 2016). Habitat not described for Montana, but probably similar if reports valid.

Food Habits
Larval food plant is Humulus lupulus (for the hops race) or Lupinus argenteus (for the lupine race); Trifolium repens and Verbascum thapsus also reported occasionally for the lupine race (Scott 1992, 2006; Scott and Wright 1998). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Apocynum, Barbarea, Ceanothus, Cerastium, Claytonia, Euphorbia, Geranium, Jamesia, Linum, Phacelia, Prunus, Rhus, Solidago), mud, dung, leafhopper honeydew (Scott and Wright 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs singly or in pairs on host plant flower buds (mostly male flowers). Eggs hatch in 5 days, larvae remain on host plant after egg-hatch, feed on flower buds and flowers, pupate on underside of host plant leaf; pupae overwinter (hibernate). In captivity, adults eclose (emerge from pupa) in 9-30 days (mean = 21 days) after exposure to late-spring temperture. Larvae tended by ants (Formica podzolica and Tapinoma sessile) in Colorado (Scott 1992, 2006; Scott and Wright 1998). Males patrol throughout the day in gulches near host plant (up to 100 m from host plant) while searching for females (Scott and Wright 1998).

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Hops Azure — Celastrina humulus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from