Western Pygmy Blue

Brephidium exile

Photo © by Mike Plagens

This butterfly was observed on 12 Nov. 2006 at Reach 11 Park, Phoenix, Arizona while visiting flowers of Seep Baccharis.

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 world's smallest butterfly species. The larvae feed on plants in the closely related families Chenopodiaceae and Amaranthaceae. These weedy plants often grow in abundance on river flood plains and in man-made catchment areas such as Reach 11 Park in Phoenix.

The top side is marked with coppery iridescence 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, 26 Dec. 2006,
updated 9 Jan. 2020.