Overview

Brief Summary

North American Ecology (US and Canada)

Resident in western North America, north to Alaska, with isolated populations in New Brunswick and Quebeck (Scott 1986). Habitats are mostly transition to lower Hudsonian Zone woodland openings, sometimes chaparral. Host plants are usually herbaceous and include many species, but mostly in one family, Leguminosae. Eggs are laid on the host plant singly. Individuals overwinter as larvae. There is a either one or two flights based on latitude, with the approximate flight time late May -July 15 in the northern part of the range, Mar1-Apr30 in California, and late April ? Aug15 in most of the rest of the range (Scott 1986).
  • Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press.
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Comprehensive Description

General Description

The pale, chalky undersides with tailed hindwings make this species very distinctive.
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Distribution

Although this species is widespread throughout western North America from Alaska to northern Mexico (Opler 1999), it is not strictly a western species as the name implies: it also occurs east to north-central Ontario, with an isolated population on the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec (Layberry et al. 1998).
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Ecology

Habitat

Widespread in many habitat types; fond of meadows, clearings roadsides and pastures.
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Trophic Strategy

The larvae are legume-feeders, although no hosts have been recorded for Alberta; elsewhere, they feed on pea-vine (Lathyrus sp.) (Layberry et al. 1998) and vetch (Vicia americana) (Guppy & Shepard 2001).
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Adults sip flower nectar and mud. Males both perch and patrol for females (Scott, 1986).
  • Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press.
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Cyclicity

Flies in a single yearly brood from May to August, most common in mid June to early July.
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Life Cycle

Unknown for Alberta. Mature larvae are variable in colour, and range from yellow to green with a dark green or reddish dorsal stripe, pink lateral stripe, and red or pink oblique bands (Layberry et al. 1998). Larvae overwinter and are often tended by ants (Layberry et al. 1998). Guppy & Shepard (2001) provide a picture of the pupa, which is cream-coloured with a row of black dorsal and lateral spots, and a covering of fine hairs.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Not of concern.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: TNR - Not Yet Ranked

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