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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Arctic Blue - Agriades glandon

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status

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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.2-1.4 cm. Forewings pointed, forewings and hindwings with prominent dark dorsal cell bars. Uppersurface of male blueish-gray, female orange-brown. Both sexes with dark cell spots on both wings. Undersurface of hindwing with postmedian black spots lacking or enclosed by broad white postmedian band or series of spots in darker background.

One flight; July and August in most of range, mid-June to mid-July at low altitude, June to mid-July in Alberta and Saskatchewan, late June and July in the Arctic (Scott 1986). June to August and September (Glassberg 2001), mostly July and August in Washington (Pyle 2002), late May to late August, depending on elevation, in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by a combination of the uppersurface of male blueish-gray, undersurface of hindwing in both sexes with postmedian black spots lacking or enclosed by broad white postmedian band or series of spots in darker background.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Holarctic. In North America, from Alaska east to Newfoundland and Greenland, south through the western mountains to Washington in the Cascades, northern Arizona and New Mexico in the Rocky Mountains (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); mostly above 1829 m to at least 4145 m elevation in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978, Ferris and Brown 1981), 1524 m to at least 2438 m elevation in Washington (Pyle 2002), 500 m to 2000 m elevation in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001). In Montana, reported from the western 2/3 of the state (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993). Mainly uncommon to common, but common to abundant in California Sierra Nevada (Glassberg 2001).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1

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



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


Mountain meadows, montane wet meadows, prairie, low ridges, slopes, trails, above treeline in alpine terrain (Garth and Tilden 1963; Emmel 1964; Scott 1986, Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). In Glacier National Park, Montana reported from subalpine areas and above treeline in alpine terrain (Debinski 1993).

Food Habits
Larval food plants include Androsace, Astragalus, Diapensia, Dodecatheon, Douglasia, and Saxifraga (Emmel et al. 1970; Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Achillea, Agoseris, Antennaria, Arnica, Astragalus, Barberea, Cerastium, Chrysanthemum, Erigeron, Eriogonum, Fragaria, Geranium, Geum, Haplopappus, Heterotheca, Hymenoxys, Machaeranthera, Melilotus, Oxalis, Oxytropis, Penstemon, Polygonum, Potentilla, Prunus, Rudbeckia, Saxifraga, Sedum, Senecio, Solidago, Symphyotrichum, Taraxacum, Tetradymia, Tragopogon) and mud (Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs singly (up to 25) under host plant leaf, less often on top of leaf or in flower (Emmel et al. 1970; Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; James and Nunnallee 2011). Number of eggs per oviarole (1/8 of total) about 100 (Ehrlich and Ehrlich 1978). Eggs hatch in about 6-12 days (depending on temperature), larvae do not build nest, develop from egg-hatch to L4 instar and pupation in captivity in about 39 days, adults eclose (emerge from pupa) in 14 days. Larvae overwinter as L1-L3 instars, also as pupae (Scott 1979; Guppy and Shepard 2001; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males patrol throughout the day near host plants (Scott 1975) or perch on rocks (James and Nunnallee 2011) in search of females.

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Citation for data on this website:
Arctic Blue — Agriades glandon.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from