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. With its head facing down it is taking nectar from flowers of Catclaw Acacia (Acacia greggii). Notice the small eye spots at the posterior end of the butterfly (at top in this photo).

Lycaenidae -- Gossamer-winged Butterfly Family

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Photo by Bruce Walsh Marine Blue is a common to abundant small blue butterfly along riparian corridors where there are mesquite trees or other plants in the bean family. This butterfly is widespread throughout the Southwest United States and Mexico. Marine Blue has a wingspan of roughly 25 mm. Large numbers can sometimes gather at damp spots taking water and dissolved salts.

slug-like caterpillar of the Marine Blue butterfly, Leptotes marina 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.

More Information:

Arizona Naturalist
Sycamore Canyons
Invertebrates in Arizona's Sycamore Canyons


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2010