Currently viewing the category: "Gossamer Wings"
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Subject: Tanzanian butterfly
Location: Arusha Tanzania
April 8, 2013 4:35 am
Hi,
this was taken this morning, there are a number of these around at the moment, it is during the start of the long rains here. Photo from Arusha in Tanzania.
Although when resting, the wings are always closed, but the top wing colour is bluish purple as can sort of be seen in the second photo.
About 12 to 15 mm in height.
Signature: Simon

Gossamer Wing

Gossamer Wing

Hi Simon,
This is a Gossamer Wing Butterfly in the family Lycaenidae, which includes Blues, Hairstreaks and Coppers.  Sorry we cannot provide a species identification.

Gossamer Wing

Gossamer Wing

Daniel,
Thanks for the quick response, I have done some further research in the last 24 hours and I think it could be this species, cacyreus lingeus or the Common bush blue, is this a possibility?
Simon

Hi again Simon,
We found an image of the Common Bush Blue on TrekNature and Butterflies of Africa and it does look like your butterfly.  The scientific name Cacyreus lingeus should have the first word or the genus name capitalized.

Daniel,
Thanks for taking the time!
There is about 20 to 30 different butterflies in the back yard at the moment, slowly going through them all, so may send some more if I get stuck again,
Regards
Simon

You are welcome Simon.  Our identification requests are starting to pick up again as spring is hitting much of the northern hemisphere, but we would love to post additional nice photos of African butterflies, especially if you already have them identified.  Please use our standard submission form for any nice photos you have that you would like us to post.

Mating Common Bush Blues

Mating Common Bush Blues look like Jumping Spider

Daniel,
What caught my eye with these Cacyreus lingeus is that I also saw a pair mating, and after a bit of maneuvering and jostling about, they settled down into the one position for about 5 to 10 minutes or so, and the pattern of the “eyes” on the wings of the joined butterflies, as well as the final configuration of both showed a distinct mimicry of a jumping spider.
In the brief research that I have done, I have not seen anything written anywhere of two separate insects actually using mimicry as a defense mechanism before, although they were still for quite a while so were fair game without some defense system.
Have attached the photo to see what you think?

That is an awesome observation Simon.  They really do look like the face of a Jumping Spider.  Perhaps it is time for you to write a paper.  We will be adding this photo to your original submission as well as making it a unique posting that is a feature.

 


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Subject: Is it a Gray Hairstreak Butterfly?
Location: Coryell County, central Texas
February 7, 2013 3:17 pm
Wow, what a mimic! This little butterfly kept rubbing its hind wings together, making the projectiles tremble like antennae. It also tended to feed head-down, and the orange spots on the hind wings look like eyes. I’m guessing this protects its actual head as well as looking a little scary. Well played, little butterfly, well played. Is it a Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)?
Signature: Ellen

Gray Hairstreak

Dear Ellen,
We are in 100% agreement with your hypothesis of the mimicry of the Gray Hairstreak.  These may be your finest photographs yet.

Gray Hairstreak

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Subject: Larva? Worm?
Location: South Africa Pretoria
December 28, 2012 9:01 am
Hello, i have difficulty identifying this insect and do not seem to find any information on it if can you kindly help me it will be of great help.
Signature: summer

Common Fig Tree Blue Caterpillar

Dear summer,
The best we can do without any research is that this is a Caterpillar, and we are not even certain if it will become a butterfly or moth though if we had to wager a guess, our first inclination is that it might be the caterpillar of a Slug Moth in the family Limacodidae.  Prior to any research, we are hoping to get additional information from you.  Where was it found?  What plant was it feeding upon?  When did you find it?  Please supply us with additional information which should aid our research.

Common Fig Tree Blue Caterpillar

Hello Daniel,
It feeds mainly on the growth points of the Ficus burkei and F.natalensis and have seen some leave damage but not that much and during the day they hide under the leaves and they are active at night, the location of it is in South Africa Pretoria or the highveld region thanks for the reply much appreciated
Regards, Marco

Update January 17, 2013:  Metamorphosis
Hello Daniel,
The caterpillar turned into this moth shocking to think such a strange caterpillar turns into a beautiful moth.
Kind regards

Common Fig Tree Blue

Hi Marco,
Thanks so much for the update.  We never expected this.  Our initial thought is that this must be a Skipper in the family Hesperidae, but the caterpillar looks more like a Gossamer Winged Butterfly in the family Lycaenidae.  Alas, our initial searches produced nothing and now we have no more time this morning to research this, but perhaps one of our readers will have some idea.

Karl identifies the Fig Tree Blue
Hi Daniel and Summer:
Like you, Daniel, I thought this was probably a Lycaenidae butterfly when the caterpillar was initially posted, but I couldn’t find anything to back that up. With this update posting I can say that I am fairly certain that it is a variety of Hairstreak or Strong Blue (Lycaenidae: Theclinae) in the genus Myrina. According to the African Butterfly Database the genus consists of only five genera, two of which (including three subspecies) occur in South Africa; the Lesser or Scarce Fig-tree Blue (Myrina dermaptera), and the Common Fig-tree Blue (Myrina silenus). The Common Fig-tree Blue looks like a closer match to me, and the caterpillar is a very good match as well. It really is a lovely butterfly. The “Field Guide: Butterflies of Southern Africa” has some good information about both species (page 182). Regards.  Karl

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Subject: Butterfly ID
Location: St Petersburg, Florida
November 10, 2012 1:35 pm
Hi,
I came across your website while researching a butterfly. Yesterday in St Petersburg Florida I took a couple of shots of a small blue butterfly and have searched the web for an ID. It looks to me to be a Miami Blue but I’m not expert on butterflies and was wondering if you could confirm or correct me on what this is. I only got two fairly decent shots of it and here are the links in case the photos are too big to upload.
Thanks!
Signature: S. Hunter Spenceley

Cassius Blue

Dear S. Hunter,
The Blues can be a very difficult group to correctly identify to the species level.  According to BugGuide, the Miami Blue is “Only known US colony is Bahia Honda SP in the Keys. Also in the WI and Cuba.”
We believe you encountered a Cassius Blue, Leptotes cassius, based on photos posted to BugGuide where it is described as:  “Below, ‘zebra-striped’ pattern and two dark spots on the hind wing, rimmed with orange, are distinctive.
Above, male is purple-blue with a thin black border and white wing fringe, and a faint dark marginal spot on the hind wing. Female is light blue with a broad gray border and two dark marginal wing spots on the hind wing.”

Cassius Blue

Daniel,
Thank you very much for the response.  I looked at the link to BugGuide and the Leptotes looks just like it so I believe it is the Cassius Blue.
Thanks again!
Hunter

Hi again Hunter,
Like we stated earlier, the Blues are a difficult group to identify.  There were many similarities between your photos of the Cassius Blue and the Miami Blue.  Drilling down to the range produced the doubt that eventually led us to the Cassius Blue as the most likely candidate.

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Subject: Two headed butterfly
Location: Cozumel island, Mexico
August 29, 2012 10:37 pm
Hi guys,
I photographied this butterfly on Cozumel island, Mexico on january 17th, 5 years ago. I found it on low tropical forest.
Can you help me to identify it?
Thank you very much, in advanced.
Best wishes.
Signature: Cristopher Gonzalez

Hairstreak

Hi Christopher,
This little beauty is one of the Hairstreaks in the subfamily Theclinae.  We doubt this species is represented on BugGuide, but we haven’t the time to research the species right now.  We wish your photo did not crop out the antennae, but perhaps you cropped them in post production and you are able to resend the original digital file so we can format it.  Your photo does show the protective mimicry the butterflies in this subfamily exhibit.  A predator might make a grab for the dominant face on the right of your photo and find itself with a mouth full of wing while the Gossamer Winged beauty flies away. 

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Subject: Butterflies – Siskiyou/Cascade Mtn.
Location: Southern Oregon
August 9, 2012 11:43 am
Hi,
Here are three butterflies I hope you can identify taken a couple weeks ago. Are they all blues?
Signature: TerryDarc

Lycaean Blue

Dear TerryDarc,
Yes, all of your butterflies are Lycaean Blues, and furthermore, we suspect since they were all flying at the same time in the same vicinity, they might all be the same species.

Female Lycaean Blue

The individual with the brown wings is a female.  Many of the Blues have pronounced sexual dimorphism with blue males and brown females.  In our opinion, two likely candidates for species are Boisduval’s Blue, Plebejus icarioides, which can be found represented on BugGuide, and the Greenish Blue, Plebejus saepiolus, which can also be found on BugGuide.  It is also worth noting that there are many subspecies and local variations in coloration among the Blues.  BugGuide notes:  “A varied group, and several species can be confusingly similar.”  The Thumbnails on the Butterflies of Americawebsite might help to determine the species.

Lycaean Blue

Thank you very much, Daniel!
-Terry

 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination