Marine Blue

Leptotes marina

Leptotes marina Photo © by Mike Plagens

This butterfly was observed in the Superstition Mountains along First Water Trail, Maricopa Co., Arizona. May 2009. It is taking nectar from flowers of Catclaw Acacia (Acacia greggii).

Lycaenidae -- Gossamer-winged Butterfly Family

Marine Blue is a common to abundant small blue butterfly in the Sonoran Desert where it is most common in riparian zones and mesquite bosques. This butterfly is widespread throughout the Southwest. Marine Blue has a wingspan of roughly 25 mm. Large numbers can sometimes gather at damp spots taking water and dissolved salts.

Photo by Bruce Walsh

The slug-like caterpillar feeds on mesquite and other members of the bean family. Even alfalfa can be used for the larval stage. When the caterpillar is resting on leaves of Velvet Mesquite (Prosopis velutina) as this one was they become nearly invisible to insectivorous birds.

Photo © Michael Plagens

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 27 July 2003,
updated 10 March 2022.