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Nickerbean Blue
Cyclargus ammon
Small butterfly with a wingspan up to 1-1/8 inches. The upperside of the wings is mostly bright blue. The hindwing of the male has a pinkish-orange spot at the lower edge; that of the female is bullet-shaped and bright orange. The underside in both sexes has three black spots near the base of the hindwing. The space next to the end band on the hindwing is white. One of the two eyespots at the corner of the outer margin is always capped with red. The caterpillar is very small, with a black head and a slug-shaped body with short hairs. THe body color varies from green with faint dark markings to highly patterned with red markings and white chevrons on the back.
Florida Keys, West Indies
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
Restricted to Big Pine Key in Florida. Adults and caterpillars present throughout the year.
Pine rocklands and openings and edges of rockland hammocks.
Three or more broods per year. The flat, bluish eggs are laid singly on the flower buds of host plants. Adults are in reproductive diapause from December-April.
Caterpillars feed on flower buds of the native larval host plants pineland croton (Croton linearis) and pineland acacia (Vachellia farnesiana var. pinetorium). They also may live inside the seed pods and eat the immature seeds. Adults feed on nectar of various flowers, including pineland croton.
This butterfly is endemic to southern Florida and is listed as Endangered Due to Similarity of Appearance (to the Miami blue) on the federal Endangered and Threatened Species list. For more information, go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service species profile. For additional information, visit Butterflies and Moths of North America and Butterflies of Cuba.
Hemiargus ammon

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