Marine Blue

Leptotes marina

Order: 

Lepidoptera

The Marine blue butterfly is classified under the large Lycaenid family with this species spanning a geographical range from South America to South-Western United States (2). From tropical, temperate, and dry habitats, L. marina larvae settles in diverse ecosystem habitats on the bud of a plant where it eats on the reproductive structures of the developing flower (2). A developed caterpillar feeds on flower clusters (inflorescence) with metamorphosing events perpetually occurring for a multi-brooded butterfly population (1). Dark marble (zebra-like) patterns are consistent among the wing of the butterfly with medial white spots and often a metallic scale enclosed by a white circle (1). As part of the butterfly’s mating behavior, the male will approach the female and showcase his wings to copulate. She considers the chemical cues emitted by the male and nutritional abundance in the environment before proceeding (1).

 

(1) Bálint, Z., & Johnson, K. (1995). Species diagnostics of the genus Leptotes in continental South America (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae). Museum of Natural History, University of Wisconsin--Stevens Point

(2)Stamp, N. E. (1990). Urban biology of Leptotes marina (Reakirt)(Lycaenidae). Journal of the LepIdopterists' Soctety, 44(3), 200-201.

(Photograph) Katja Shulz. Marine Blue.