The Eastern Tailed-blues emerged here with the warm spring weather of March.
|Male Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly|
These butterflies are one of my favorites, even though they are tiny. They are only around an inch across, but always noticeable in my yard due to their flashing, brilliant blue wings.
|Eastern Tailed-Blue on a Clover Leaf|
The females are a little harder to see than the males, as their wings have a grayer hue.
|Female Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly|
The first spring brood of females is the most colorful and has the most blue on their wings. As the summer goes on, subsequent broods will have even more muted colors, with the whole wing being charcoal gray.
|Female Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly on Clover|
On a sunny summer's day, I am sure to find these butterflies in my yard, as they are attracted to all the clover and vetch that I am encouraging to take over my sloped backyard in lieu of hard-to-grow grass.
Sometimes there are so many Eastern Tailed-blues in my backyard that when I walk, my feet stir up clouds of little blue butterflies that are disturbed by my passing.
|Two Eastern Tailed-Blues and a Clover|
Eastern tailed-blues have tiny 'tails' protruding from their hind wings. When the butterflies land, I often see them rubbing their hind wings together so that these tails wiggle and look rather like fake antennae.
The theory is that by moving these fake antennae, and with orange spots on the hind wings looking like eyes, birds and other predators have more trouble distinguishing where the head of the butterfly is. Thus they are tricked into just getting a mouthful of wing, allowing the butterfly to live.
These butterflies are very common here in the Eastern US. In North Carolina they can be seen from March through October or even November, at which point the caterpillars will hibernate for the winter, often in a seed pod of a favorite food plant.
Until then, I shall be enjoying these tiny but gorgeous winged creatures.
Did I mention that blue was my favorite color?