Spring azure butterfly

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Spring azure (Celastrina argiolus) depositing eggs into a flower cluster of new jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus)

Every year at this time, as the dogwood shrubs finish blooming and the new jersey tea starts, we watch many spring azure butterflies taking flight and laying eggs. Their larval food are the flowering parts of native dogwoods, viburnums, and new jersey tea, so one generation seems to emerge with the dogwoods, especially red osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) and lay its eggs on the new jersey tea. Yesterday afternoon two females were checking out the backyard perennial garden and laying eggs in the ceanothus flowers.

These are tiny creatures, just over an inch in wingspan, and they flit around very quickly and erratically–a sure sign that they are prey. It’s impossible to get a picture of one in flight, but you do see a great deal more blue when their wings are open. Here’s a picture of the upperside of the wings:

Image result for spring azure butterfly

I believe the females have more black on their wings than the males. The ones we saw yesterday looked very much like this.

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