Deciphering Butterflies: Orange-bordered Blues

Deciphering Butterflies: Orange-bordered Blues

There are four blues with orange borders on their wings, all becoming rarer or absent in the eastern portion of the state.

Melissa Blue (Plebejus melissa)

General Appearance – This is the largest blue in this group at 7/8 – 1 3/8 inches. 
Range – Statewide but absent in the southeast. 
Status – Common to abundant in the west, but becoming rarer east. 
Dorsal -This butterfly is sexually dimorphic. The female is dark with orange borders on both forewing and hindwing. Males are bright blue with no orange borders. 
Ventral – the sexes are similar with an orange band on both wings, becoming less prominent on the forewing. One row of black dots inside the orange border.

Melissa Blue species page

Dotted Blue (Euphilotes enoptes ancilla)

General Appearance – Small butterfly, 3/4 – 7/8 inch wingspan, not brightly colored, easily overlooked. 
Range – In Nebraska it has been found in the northwestern corner of the state. 
Status – uncommon to rare, not reported every year. One early summer flight. The Rita Blue (below) flies in August. 
Dorsal – males are blue with the orange band on the hindwing absent or reduced. Females darker with the orange border in the hindwing clearly visible. 
Ventral – Both wings with heavy dark maculation. Orange border present on hindwings of both sexes may appear to be disjointed into a series of spots.

Dotted Blue species page

Lupine Blue (Icaricia lupini)

General Appearance – Slightly smaller than the Melissa Blue with a wingspan of 7/8 – 1 1/8 inches. 
Range – It has been found in the western half of the state. 
Status – Encountered yearly in varying numbers, becoming rarer eastward. 
Dorsal – The sexes are dimorphic. In females the wings are dark with some blue at the base and orange borders on the hindwing only. Males are blue with the forewing border black and the hindwing border orange. 
Ventral – The sexes are similar with orange borders on the hindwings only.

Lupine Blue species page

Rita Blue (Euphilotes rita)

General Appearance – Small, 11/16 – 7/8 inches, easily overlooked. 
Range – To date it has been found only in the southern panhandle. 
Status – Rare. Found on only two occasions. There is a single late summer (August) flight. 
Dorsal – Male is light blue with a small orange patch at the bottom of the hindwing. The female is dark with a broad orange margin on the hindwing. 
Ventral – Less heavily maculated with black than the Dotted Blue with the orange band broad and continuous

Rita Blue species page