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Western Pygmy Blue

Brephidium exile

Photo © by Mike Plagens

This butterfly was photographed using a Nikon CoolPix 990 on 12 Nov. 2006 at Reach 11, Phoenix, Arizona while visiting flowers of Seep Bacharis.

Photo © by Robert Witzeman

This excellent close-up was photographed by Robert Witzeman.

The Pygmy Blue, with a wingspan barely wider than a small fingernail, may well be the smallest butterfly species. The larvae feed on plants in the chenopodiaceae and amaranthaceae. These weedy plants often grow in abundance on flood plains and in man-made catchment areas such as Reach 11 Park in Phoenix.

The top side is marked with coppery irridescence and bluish around the perimeter. As with many members of the butterfly family Lycaenidae (hairstreaks, blues, coppers) there are eyespots at the posterior edge of the hindwing that may serve to distract predators.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008