Thursday, 17 May 2012

Cherry Gall Azure

The problem with azure butterflies is that they are all very similar looking and the best ways to differentiate them are by flight season and by host plant association. In Norfolk County it would seem that with the early spring we just had, the Spring Azures (Celastrina ladon) had an extra early flight period. I actually haven't seen any azures recently suggesting that they have all died - or at least any surviving members of C. ladon should be rather tattered looking. This past weekend fresh-looking azures starting popping again and I didn't give it much thought until talking to Bob Curry about the possibility of these new ones being Cherry Gall Azures (Celastrina serotina). The reasoning follows that Spring Azures, are followed by Cherry Gall Azures, which are then followed by Summer Azures (Celastrina neglecta). Given the weather this year it would seem that the Spring Azures are gone, while it`s still too early to be seeing Summer Azures. Ergo - we are seeing Cherry Gall Azures currently in Norfolk County. And for the record, there is no shortage of cherry galls (on which the larvae feed). As far as I know there aren`t good field marks to separate these species so we kind of have to trust our judgement. It`s like being scientific while not being so scientific. The Spring Azure complex of species/subspecies is anything but clear so if anyone can shed some light on this group of butterflies please do!

Possible/probable Cherry Gall Azure on sand near the Wilson Tract

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