A Stand-Out Eastern Tailed Blue Butterfly

Eastern Tailed Blue Pigeon photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mountain, GA

We found him in a meadow on Pigeon Mountain. We were in the northwestern corner or Georgia, the Georgia mountains, close to Cloudland Canyon State Park. He was basking in the warming early morning sun. Butterflies, especially male butterflies benefit from the morning sun’s comforting warmth, enabling them to begin flying at top speeds, rather than seeing them up to risk reduced speed, and probable predators.

This male Eastern Tailed-Blue butterfly is a handsome Lep, and one that stands out from those I’ve known these last decades. Those I’ve seen in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio. Toronto, New Hampshire, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and Delaware had orange Spots on the trailing edges of their dorsal (upper) hindwings. He lacks those orange spots.

Is he alone is not having dorsal hindwing orange spots? Do all of the Eastern Tailed-Blues of the Georgia Mountains and nearby Tennessee lack them? The Western Tailed-Blues have them, but they now are found some 1,700 miles west of Pigeon Mountain.



A Texan Strymon Melinus Franki Butterfly

Dorsal view of Gray Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

I’ve stared at this one many times, and was stumped. It sure looks like a Gray Hairstreak female: Orange antennae tips, gray abdomen, wings held open, tails, orange on head, that orange spot with the black spot at its outer margin, but . . . those blue spots along the outer margins of the hindwings??

I sought feedback from Mike Rickard for the ID of another Lower Rio Grande Valley butterfly (The Cassius Blue) and along the way, he suggested I visit the website, Welcome To Butterflies Of AmericaI did, and Mike was right, that website is a big help when you want to ID a butterfly.

This one here is typical of Gray Hairstreaks in Texas, what with those blue spots winking at you. So this is of the Strymon Melinus Franki subspecies, and I love those blues, I do.