Well, Kelly, this one is a challenge! But I think you were right in the first place, that it is an Echo Azure.
My dictum about "any spots distal of the mesial band" being Icaricia only applies to individuals that might be taken for Glaucopsyche, which this one would not. Actually, ALL the blues (I think) have maculation distal of the mesial band EXCEPT for silveries; so perhaps I should have framed that in the opposite terms. I can see why Stewart would think this a Boisduval's, given the state of the mesial band of spots; but:
the field mark that most says "Celastrina" to me about this one is the long vertical dash in the cell, a classic azure marking. Also, the submarginal spots almost suggest chevrons, which azures generally display. I suspect your Johnson's Prairie puddlers were also azures.
Pelham? Norbert? Thoughts?
As always, specimens solve the issue!
On 2022-06-22 10:27 pm, mcallisters4 wrote:
I was using inaturalist to explore locations where Silvery Blues and Boisduval's Blues had been reported in prairies of south Puget Sound. I looked at the photo linked below and saw that it had initially been identified as a Boisduval's Blue (ssp.blackmorei). I didn't think it was a Boisduval's Blue and thought it was an Echo Azure. Stewart Wechsler pointed out reasons why he didn't believe it to be an Echo Azure and I think Stewart is right. Noting Bob Pyles' words from yesterday, "If you see ANY maculation distal from the mesial band of spots, it is Icaricia." I believe Stewart Wechsler was probably right in his initial identification of this butterfly as Icaricia. I'd appreciate feedback on this one. I remember seeing many blues that looked like this one, puddling near Johnson's Prairie on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, many years ago. The ventral hind wing spots have poorly defined (not very white) halos and the dark centers are quite large relative to the light halos. I was totally confused by the ones near Johnson's Prairie. It will be nice, for me, to settle this so I'll know what I'm looking at next time.