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Ceraunus Blue
Hemiargus ceraunus antibubastis

Copyright by: Beryn Harty, 2014
Mating on Cudjoe Walk

Small butterfly with a wingspan up to 1-1/8 inches. The upperside of the male is lavender blue with a dark narrow border; that of the female is brown with a blue wing base. Both have a small black spot on the outer margin of the hindwing. The underside of the forewing is gray with a row of dark bands. The hindwing has two black spots along the leading margin, a narrow white postmedian band, and one orange-rimmed black spot along the outer margin. The caterpillar has a black head; the body color ranges from light green to pinkish-red with dark markings and a white stripe bordered by red on the side.
Southern United States west to California, West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America.
 Map of native range by ZIP code north to Indian River and Manatee counties.
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
All year in South Florida; may stray into rest of state, but are not cold-tolerant.
Hammock edges, coastal thickets and open, disturbed sites.
The small, flattened eggs are laid singly on the flower buds or leaves of the host plants.
Natural History:
The adults flutter very close to the ground.
Caterpillars feed on the flowers, young leaves, buds and immature seeds of host plants. Native larval host plants include the cultivated wildflowers eastern milkpea (Galactia regularis), partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata), rabbitbells (Crotalaria rotundifolia) and tropical-puff (Neptunia pubescens), and the vine downy milkpea (Galactia volubilis). Other native host plants include the shrub Carolina indigo (Indigofera caroliniana) and the weedy giant herb danglepod (Sesbania herbacea). Nectar plants include the cultivated native wildflower turkey tangle fogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) and the weedy native Spanish-needles (Bidens alba var. radiata). Larvae also feed on the nonnative herbs creeping indigo (Indigofera spicata) and hairy indigo (Indigofera hirsuta), and the invasive nonnative vine rosary-pea (Abrus precatorius).
This species is listed as Threatened 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's species profile. For additional information, visit the Florida Museum of Natural History's Florida Wildflowers & Butterflies website, the University of Florida/IFAS Featured Creatures website, Butterflies and Moths of North America and Butterflies of Cuba. See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Know Your Native Pollinators page.

Copyright by: Beryn Harty, 2014
Mating on Cudjoe Walk

Copyright by: Beryn Harty
Egg & catepillar

Copyright by: Beryn Harty, 2016

Copyright by: Mary Keim

Copyright by: Mary Keim

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