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Montana Field Guides

Northern Spring Azure - Celastrina lucia


Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
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General Description
Taxonomy of western North American Celastrina is in flux, with some authorities listing lucia as a subspecies of C. ladon and others including ladon as a synonym for C. argiolus (Scott 1986; Pratt et al. 1994; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002; Acorn and Sheldon 2006; Schmidt and Layberry 2016). Sections of this account probably include information for more than one taxon now considered a full species.

[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.0-1.4 cm. Tailless, lacking orange markings; sexually dimorphic. Uppersurface of males unmarked blue, females blue with at least some black on outer half of forewing; both sexes with undersurface of forewing and hindwing grayish with charcoal marginal band, hindwing with black-gray irregular disk blotch and spots.

Phenology
One flight; mostly mid-June to early August in Newfoundland and Labrador, mid-May to mid-June in the Arctic, May to mid-June in Saskatchewan, mostly May in the Rocky Mountains (Scott 1986). April or May to August (at higher elevations) in the Rocky Mountain states (Glassberg 2001). Late April to early June in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Probably best determined by being tailless and lacking orange markings; uppersurface of males unmarked blue, females blue with at least some black on outer half of forewing; both sexes with undersurface of forewing and hindwing grayish with charcoal marginal band, hindwing with black-gray irregular disk blotch and spots.

Species Range
Montana Range

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Range Comments
Alaska east across boreal Canada to Labrador and Newfoundland, south to Washington, Idaho, Montana, the Great Lakes region, and New England (Pratt et al. 1994; Pyle 2002; Acorn and Sheldon 2006; Schmidt and Layberry 2016); elevation range poorly described. In Montana, C. argiolus reported from western half of state (Kohler 1980; Shepard and Opler 1993), but includes a mix of C. lucia, C. ladon, and C. echo; northern counties probably primarily lucia, southern counties primarily ladon, with echo across western half of state (see Pratt et al. 1994; Guppy and Shepard 2001; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database); to 1645 m elevation. Common to abundant (Glassberg 2001), but comment pertains to lucia, ladon, and echo combined under C. ladon.

Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 2

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Migration
Non-migratory.

Habitat
Woodlands, shrub lands, riparian corridors, (Scott 1986; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). Habitat in Montana uncertain, in part due to taxonomic confusion, but likely similar to other areas; in Glacier National Park, C. argiolus ladon reported from montane mesic meadows (Debinski 1993), which may refer to this species.

Food Habits
Larval food plants diverse, including Adenostoma, Amelanchier, Arbutus, Baccharis, Ceanothus, Celastrus, Chamaebatiaria, Cornus, Diervilla, Eriodictyon, Eriogonum, Heteromeles, Holodiscus, Jamesia, Kalmia, Ledum, Lotus, Lupinus, Petrophytum, Physocarpus, Prunus, Ribes, Rhododendron, Sambucus, Spiraea, Vaccinium, and Viburnum (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; Pratt et al. 1994; Pyle 2002; Schmidt and Layberry 2016). Adults in the west feed on flower nectar (including Aletes, Antennaria, Arctostaphylos, Barbarea, Berberis, Ceanothus, Cerastium, Clematis, Daphne, Harbouria, Jamesia, Lasthenia, Leontodon, Lesquerella, Mertensia, Physocarpus, Potentilla, Prunus, Salix, Senecia, Thlaspi, Tussilago, Viola), rotting wood, horse manure, ash, and mud (Pyle 2002; Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs singly on host plant flower buds (Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; James and Nunnallee 2011). Eggs hatch in about 3-6 days. Larval development rapid, from egg to L4 instar and pupation in 12-25 days after egg-laying. Prepupal L4 instar wanders off host plant before pupating. Adults eclose (emerge) from non-diapausing pupae in 7-19 days; overwinter as pupae. Larvae do not build nests, are tended by ants (Camponotus, Formica, Tapinoma) (Scott 1979, 1986, 1992; James and Nunnallee 2011; Schmidt and Layberry 2016). Males patrol throughout the day near and around host plants in valley bottoms, on slopes and ridges, in search of females (Scott 1975b, 1986).

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Northern Spring Azure — Celastrina lucia.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from