End of the Season Blues

Although most of Nebraska has seen a frost a few hardier plants and butterflies are still hanging on for our viewing pleasure. So the following sightings might not be the last county records for 2022.

On October 11 Lori Tomes spotted a Marine Blue (Leptotes marina) in Fremont which was a Dodge County record. This breeding stray (various legumes are host plants) had a very good year here in Nebraska. It was found in 16 counties where it had not previously been reported. Many thanks to Lori and the numerous other contributors!

Marine Blue, Fremont, Dodge County NE, Oct 11, 2022, photo by Lori Tomes

Then on October 22 when I was rubbing elbows with members of the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union (bird enthusiasts) at Schramm State Recreation Area in Sarpy County we noticed several diminutive (hence the name) Pygmy Blue (Brephidium exilis) butterflies on an aster still in bloom. Loren Padelford was kind (and skilled) enough to capture some images of this tiny butterfly. It is a stray in our state, seldom reported possibly due to its small size. It can breed here but does not survive our winters. These two individuals were likely offspring of eggs laid on Lamb’s Quarters (Chenopodium album) in the area as the chance of two fresh Pygmy Blues straying onto the same aster on the same day must be extremely small.

While the chances for new finds diminish daily be alert to whatever is still on the wing if only to savor their presence before winter sets in. As always, if you see anything unusual let us know at nebraskabutterflies@gmail.com

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