Cassius Blue

Leptotes cassius

Summary 5

Leptotes cassius, commonly known as the Cassius Blue or Tropical Striped Blue, is a butterfly of the Lycaenidae family. It is found in Florida and the Keys, Texas south through the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America to South America. Strays can be found in New Mexico, Kansas, Missouri and South Carolina.

Description 6

Upper side of males pale blue; females with white patches. Underside of wings tan to gray with broken white lines and outer margin with dark spots surrounded by white; hind wing with 2 unequal sized spots, larger black with metallic blue scales surrounded by orange scales, smaller spot similar but with less orange.
Wing Span: 3/4 - 1 3/8 inches (2 - 3.5 cm).

Larval Description 6

Full grown larvae are approximately 0.5 inch in length (Minno et al. 2005). Body color is green with faint dark markings or patterned with faint white markings (formed by numerous tiny white hair-bearing tubercles [chalazae]) or red markings and white chevrons. Larvae are associated with ants.

Larval Host Plants 6

The larval hosts of the cassius blue are a variety of vines, shrubs, and trees in the pea family (Fabaceae) (Minno and Emmel 1993, Minno and Minno 1999, Minno et al 2005) including the: Downy milkpea, Galactia volubilis, Florida hammock milkpea, Galactia striata, Florida Keys blackbead, Pithecellobium keyense, Catclaw blackbead, Pithecellobium unguis-cati, False tamarind, Lysiloma latisiliquum, Florida fishpoison tree or Jamaican dogwood, Piscidia piscipula, and the exotic rosarypea, Abrus precatorius. Rosarypea, also known by many other common names, is invasive and disruptive to native plant communities (FLEPPC 2007), and its seed is extremely poisonous (INCHEM undated). Therefore, it should never be planted.

One of the most common larval hosts is the widely-planted exotic ornamental cape leadwort (Plumbago auriculata) in the leadwort family (Plumbaginaceae). Doctorbush (Plumbago scandens), a native leadwort species, is also used (Minno and Minno 1999).

GTM Occurrence 6

The Common Buckeye is considered an uncommon species at the GTM. Most observations are in the open habitat along Transect A. Two individuals were sited along the Red Bay Walk (Transect D). This species occurs sporadically in March and May with more individuals observed in September and November-December. Does not occur every year. There have been 23 observed as of December 28, 2015.

Distribution 7

Global Range: Resident in south Florida, south Texas south to south America; emigrates through Kansas, Missouri. Populations in United States west of the Mississippi are the subspecies Leptotes cassius striatus.

Habitat 8

Habitats are subtropical open areas, woods edges, fields, roadsides, thorn scrub, and parks..

Nature serve conservation status 9

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Widespread, good colonist.

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) leppyone, some rights reserved (CC BY), http://www.flickr.com/photos/30609440@N00/377424822
  2. (c) Bob Peterson, some rights reserved (CC BY), https://www.flickr.com/photos/pondapple/9224472905/
  3. (c) Matthew Hoelscher, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND), https://www.flickr.com/photos/tiswango/4590196554/
  4. (c) gtmresearchreserve, all rights reserved, uploaded by GTMResearchReserve, http://www.inaturalist.org/photos/2878149
  5. Adapted by GTMResearchReserve from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leptotes_cassius
  6. (c) GTMResearchReserve, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
  7. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://eol.org/data_objects/28818030
  8. Adapted by GTMResearchReserve from a work by (c) Leslie Ries, some rights reserved (CC BY), http://eol.org/data_objects/19606042
  9. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://eol.org/data_objects/28818024

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