Eastern Pygmy-Blue

Brephidium pseudofea

Summary 5

There is some confusion over the proper scientific name of the Eastern Pygmy Blue. Brown & Heineman (1972), Riley (1975) and Smith et al. (1994) treat B. pseudofea as a separate species from B. exilis (Western Pygmy Blue) (based on genitalic differences between them reported by Comstock & Huntington (1943)), and treat B. isophthalma (Herrich-Schäffer) as a subspecies of B. exilis. Note that Bordelon & Knudson (2000) mention possible intermediates between B. exilis and B. pseudofea from Texas. Based on the checklist of Opler and Warren (2002) the most accepted name for the Eastern Pygmy Blue is Brephidium pseudofea.

Description 5

This is the smallest butterfly at the GTM. Upper side of wings is copper brown; underside of hind wings brown. Forewing underside with rows of small, white dashes from 1/3 length to outer margin. Hind wing underside with basal row of white circles; then a series of white dashes; along margin a series of large dark spots highlighted with metallic scales. Wing Span: 3/4 - 7/8 inch (2 - 2.2 cm).

Larva Description 5

Larvae are green with small white tubercles that closely match the pattern on the glasswort host plant. Pupae are variable but usually yellow-brown with darker brown dots.

Larval Host Plants 5

The primary larval host plant is annual glasswort, Salicornia bigelovii (Chenopodiaceae). Perennial glasswort, Salicornia perennis and saltwort, Batis maritima (Bataceae) also may be used. In the Florida Keys, larvae are attended by ants (Tapinoma sessile [Say]) which stroke them and then feed the ant from a dorsal nectary gland on the seventh abdominal segment (Harvey & Longino 1989).

GTM Occurrence 5

The Eastern Pygmy Blue is considered a frequent species at the GTM. It occurs most frequently along the Glasswort Loop (Transect C) because of the occurrence of the larval host plant. It also occurs in the open habitat along Transect A and along the Marsh Pond Overlook (Transect B). The Eastern Pygmy Blue is most common in the spring during March and April and less frequently in July-September and November. It is not present every year. There have been 61 specimens observed as of December 28, 2015.

Distribution 5

South Carolina south along the Atlantic coastal plain to both coasts of Florida and the Keys, west along the Gulf Coast to Louisiana. Occasionally strays to Texas and inland.

Habitat 5

Salt marshes where its host plant occurs. Can also be found in open habitats and forests.

National nature serve conservation status 6

United States
Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Carlos De Soto Molinari, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND), https://www.flickr.com/photos/cdesoto/16388614031/
  2. (c) Bill Berthet, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://eol.org/data_objects/19605842
  3. (c) pondhawk, some rights reserved (CC BY), https://www.flickr.com/photos/38686613@N08/4732051716/
  4. (c) gtmresearchreserve, all rights reserved, uploaded by GTMResearchReserve, http://www.inaturalist.org/photos/2878226
  5. (c) GTMResearchReserve, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
  6. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://eol.org/data_objects/28746044

More Info

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Category name frequent
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