Butterflies come in a great variety of colours and sizes as club members learned on a recent butterfly outing with Brady Mathes. One of the more abundant but inconspicuous species that was flying that day was the Silvery Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus.) The Blues belong to the family Lycaenidae and have structural components that refract various shades of blue colouration. The males are brighter than the much duller females but the ladies do reflect some blue. About 2/3 of the species occurring in North America can be found in the Pacific Northwest from northern California to BC and east to Nevada and Idaho. There are 15 species in BC that have either “blue” or azure” in their name and all are small, bluish species.
The Silvery Blue is quite distinctive. The black dots on the underwings are surrounded by white rings as shown in the following photo.
The forewings of this individual have become a bit tattered from wear.
A species that might initially appear to be one of the Blues is the Gray Hairstreak. The dorsal surface is a darker gray but the underwings are a light gray and may appear bluish under some lighting conditions. But the long tails on the wings and distinctive orange marking indicate that they are not part of the Blue group.
Thanks to Brady for an informative walk of May 24. The photo shows part of our group in the grasslands above Pineview subdivision.
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