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Eastern Tailed Blue Butterfly

Eastern tailed blue butterflies have a wingspan of about two inches. They are commonly found in fields and open spaces. Males are radiantly blue, whereas females are mostly brown. On both males and females, there is a small narrow tail on the hind wings. Females lay individual eggs on flower buds. When the hairy, green caterpillars hatch, they consume the flower bud, flowers, and seeds. Common food plants are legumes like wild pea and clover. Caterpillars are equipped with a 'honey gland' that secretes a sugary solution that attracts ants. The ants protect caterpillars from possible predators. Caterpillars hibernate throughout winter and pupate in spring. When adult Eastern tailed blue butterflies emerge, they can be found flying low to the ground in search of host plants. Butterflies feed on nectar from open and short-tubed flowers like wild strawberry and white sweet clover. While butterfly diets are mainly nectar, you can also find them around puddles on the ground. Butterflies get important nutrients from salts and minerals in soil.

Photo from Marcie O’Connor, prairehaven.com: larva eastern tailed blue butterfly Photo from Marcie O’Connor, prairehaven.com: pupa eastern tailed blue butterfly male adult eastern tailed blue butterfly male adult feeding on mineral nutrients in soil, eastern tailed blue butterfly