Re: Help identifying a blue from June 2019, Olympia Airport

Caitlin LaBar

I hate to disagree with Norbert and Bob but I think it’s icarioides.
The ground color is two-toned fuzzy gray, not worn/missing scales, while Celastrina echo from this area is very flat white/pale gray with more distinctive marginal markings.
The hindwing shape is elongated like Icaricia, not rounded like Celastrina.
The spots have white halos, which isn’t very distinct on Celastrina.
The upper two spots near the costa are oriented so that if you draw a line through them it angles far back, usually in line with the next (third down) spot, as illustrated by my red sketch line on the attachment, which is almost always the pattern in icarioides. In Celastrina, a line through these two spots angles down, such as how I drew the two blue lines.
Hope this helps. I’ll try to dig up some photos later today of blackmorei from my graduate studies at Johnson Prairie. The ones in that area vary from looking like Kelly’s image to Norbert’s, and everything in between.


On Thu, Jun 23, 2022 at 8:54 AM Stewart Wechsler <ecostewart@...> wrote:
If I was wrong, I'm happy to be corrected!  That said, now I want to find that image on iNaturalist, to see what I said, but can't find it.  Do you have the iNaturalist link Kelly?


On Thu, Jun 23, 2022 at 6:04 AM Norbert Kondla <nkondla@...> wrote:
I vote for Celastrina. In addition to what Bob pointed out, note also the dark terminal line on the ventral hind wing. The icarioides subspecies blackmorei and montis do have very lightly marked ventral hindwings but lack the dark terminal line. Both of these were described from nearby southwestern British Columbia. You can see pics of the name bearing types here
and here

On Thu, Jun 23, 2022 at 1:39 AM <tlpyle@...> wrote:

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.



Norbert Kondla
Calgary, Alberta, Canada  (elevation 1060 metres asl)



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