Spring Azure, Celastrina ladon

Spring Azure

Celastrina ladon

Description:
Both the male and female are bright blue with the female having a wide black border. Below the ‘Spring’ Spring Azure is darker gray with a variety of spots. There are several color forms of this taxa that have historically been discussed in most field guides. Form “marginata” which has a darker, brownish margin, is common throughout central Wisconsin while form “lucia” is similar with some darker spots in the middle of the hindwing, but is basically similar in ground coloration.

Habitat:
Spring Azures inhabit woodland edges and openings, and readily visit garden flowers.

Overwintering Strategy:  

Flight:   
One brood. The first Spring Azures appear in April and through May and into early June.

Caterpillar Host Plants:
Flowers of a variety of woody shrubs and occasionally herbs including dogwood, New Jersey tea, meadowsweet, and Collinsia.

Notes:   
The Spring Azure butterfly is one of the earliest butterflies to emerge from its pupa and thus heralds the beginning of spring and better weather to come. It has overwintered as a chrysalis (pupa) and emerges as a butterfly as the spring temperatures warm.

It is a fairly common butterfly that may be found mud puddling in larger numbers, but is often found flying singly along the woodland edges. In the leafless woodland it is easy to see the bright blue upper wings of these butterflies as they fly in search of mates, or food. Like most Gossamer-winged butterflies, these butterflies rarely land with the wings open and after noting the spectacular blues of the in-flight butterflies; it is sometimes hard to spot them when they land.

Female Azures often fly up into trees, such as dogwood and deposits their eggs on the flower buds while male Azures can be seen congregating in shallow mud-puddles and moist soil along stream, roads and ditches. The males patrol and perch all day but are most active from midafternoon until dusk.

Overwintering Strategy

Two-way migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to Central Mexico
Small migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to southern US
Immigrant: Adult migrates into Wisconsin from warmer areas and don't fly south in winter
Adult Butterfly: Hibernates overwinter as an adult butterfly
Eggs: Eggs laid on stems, twigs or foot plants overwinter in diapause
Caterpillar: Caterpillars make nests on the base of plants and hibernate until spring
Chrysalis: Caterpillars shed their last skin, form a chrysalis and enter diapause.

For more information, read: Where Do Butterflies Go In Winter?

Further Information:   

 Design A Butterfly Garden
 Take The Butterfly Quiz
 Monarch Life Cycle
 Butterflies and Moths of North America
 WisconsinButterflies.org
 Southern Wisconsin Butterfly Assn (NABA)
 The Butterfly Site

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