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Species Ministrymon leda - Leda Ministreak - Hodges#4291

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Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Lycaenidae (Blues, Coppers, Hairstreaks, Harvesters)
Subfamily Theclinae (Hairstreaks)
Tribe Eumaeini
Genus Ministrymon (Ministreaks)
Species leda (Leda Ministreak - Hodges#4291)
Hodges Number
4291
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Orig. Comb: Thecla leda W.H. Edwards, 1882. Type locality: near Prescott, Arizona
Syn: Thecla ines W.H. Edwards, 1882. Type locality: southern Arizona [restricted to "vicinity of Tucson, Pima County, Arizona" by F.M. Brown (1970), Transactions American Entomological Society 96(1): 52.]
Explanation of Names
The form that was named "ines" has the orange coloring below reduced or lacking, and the gray ground color tends to be darker in through the median portion of the wings and palest in the postmedian area. While the form that was originally named "leda" has more even coloring below, and the orange coloring is usually strongly present. These are just color forms, and subject to individual and seasonal variation, with varied degrees of intermediates present as well.
Identification
Dull grayish to brownish below, with dark lines usually (not always) edged in orange; with postmedian line continuous but disjointed at veins and "W"-shaped near tails on hind wing; there is a dark dash at the end of the discal cell on all wings, and on the hind wing there is a broken submedian dark line (that may be reduced to two or three dashes). Hind wing usually with one prominent submarginal orange spot surrounding smaller black spot in cell between base of tails (may be missing), and sometimes also with a little orange sorrounding black at tornus. Upper side dark brown with body, base of front wing, and much of hind wing blue. The hind wing has one long and one short tail (easily broken and may be missing). If the insect is alive, the eyes will be pale grayish in color with a pattern of tiny dark reflective spots that appear to move as you move (typical of butterfly eyes); however, nearly all Hairstreaks (and Blues) have opaque blackish eyes, and Ministrymon leda is one of the few exceptions.
Range
CA-TX, CO / Mex. - Map - MPG
At northern limits sometimes absent for several years at a time, and probably re-introduced by strays. Sometimes straying far north of usual range well beyond the distribution of Mesquite (northern Colorado, Nebraska, etc.). Should be watched for in southeastern Colorado, western Oklahoma and central Texas, where there is also Mesquite.
Habitat
Often near water, or often in canyons and along arroyos, but nearly always associated with Mesquite (Prosopis species).
Season
Adults year-round as weather allows, but in the US apparently mostly in two broods (spring and summer) from April or May to October or November. Probably overwinters as pupae (?).
Food
Larvae feed on Mesquite - Prosopis species. Adults will nectar at a variety of flowers, and will sometimes visit puddles.
See Also
- Range: TX / Mex. to S. Amer.
Vicroy's Ministreak - Ministrymon janevicroy Glassberg, 2013
Internet References