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Eastern Tailed Blue

Everes comyntas comyntas (Godart, 1824)

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Mating pair photo (Click to enlarge)
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Adult male photo (Click to enlarge)
Distribution Map
Ohio county distribution
Records by Month
Flight period (Temporal distribution)

STATUS: Resident; common.

DISTRIBUTION/RANGE: Statewide (see map). This species is known from all 88 counties.

HABITAT: This species occurs in any open habitat where suitable legume hostplants grow. Typical habitats include alfalfa and clover fields, soybean fields, roadsides, railroad rights-of-way, old fields, vacant lots, prairie remnants, lawns, and gardens. In early spring this species can also be found in forested areas.

HOSTPLANT(S): Not known in Ohio. Many different legumes are used throughout this blue's range (Opler and Krizek, 1984). Many of the legumes listed as adult energy resources may serve as hostplants.

ADULT ENERGY RESOURCES: Lupine, red clover, white clover, alfalfa, yellow sweet clover, white sweet clover, soybeans, shrubby cinquefoil, blue vervain, Indian hemp, butterfly-weed, peppermint, common boneset, asters, and brambles. This butterfly is an avid visitor to damp soil, damp gravel, and damp sand.

FLIGHT PERIOD: Many overlapping broods throughout the summer. Although it is difficult to tell from the histogram, there are between three and five generations per year. Extreme dates range from 12 April to 18 October.

SIMILAR SPECIES: Although this species is vaguely similar to other species of blues, the presence of tails will easily separate E. comyntas.

GENERAL COMMENTS: This is one of Ohio's most common butterflies, and is well adapted to the wide variety of habitats that result from human disturbance. Populations often reach high densities, and hundreds of individuals may be seen in certain habitats in late summer.

There is marked seasonal polyphenism and individual variation in this species. The spring brood is usually characterized by small adults relative to later generations. However, individuals vary in size within each brood, and it is common to find a twofold size difference in adults flying in the same field. Spring brood females have expanded blue pattern elements relative to later generations, but spring brood males generally have less blue than later generations. in both sexes, the spring brood tends to be paler ventrally than individuals found later in the season.

The flight of this butterfly is erratic but not as swift as in the hairstreaks. Adults usually fly close to the ground, and because of their dark appearance, can be difficult to follow visually. When perching, the wings are held above the body vertically or at a 45' angle. When resting, adults often rub their hindwings together in an alternating pattern.

Leland L. Martin (pers comm, 1988) has observed in this species a curious circular courtship display which both sexes perform on the upper surfaces of leaves.


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