Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Calendar
Upcoming Events

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington

TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Species Brephidium exile - Western Pygmy-Blue - Hodges#4353

Square-Spotted Blue? - Brephidium exile - female Western Pygmy Blue - Brephidium exile Western Pygmy-Blue - Brephidium exile - male Western Pygmy Blue - Brephidium exilis - Brephidium exile WesternPygmy Blue - Brephidium exile western pygmy blue - Brephidium exile Blue sp. pos ragged Reakirt's ? - Brephidium exile butterfly - Brephidium exile
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 Polyommatinae (Blues)
Genus Brephidium (Pygmy Blues)
Species exile (Western Pygmy-Blue - Hodges#4353)
Hodges Number
4353
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Brephidium exilis (Boisduval, 1852), Scudder, 1976
Brephidium exile (Boisduval, 1852)
Lycaena exilis Boisduval, 1852
Lycaena isophthalma Herrich-Schäffer, 1862
Brephidium exilis exilis (Boisduval, 1852)
Brephidium exilis isophthalma (Herrich-Schäffer, 1862)
(As of Oct 2016, BugGuide maintains gender agreement by using Brephidium exile though it appears that most authors use Brephidium exilis notably Pelham (2012)(2016)(1))
Explanation of Names
Latin for "small". The smallest butterfly in our area.
Size
Wingspread: 12 to 20 mm
Males are smaller than females.
Range
Throughout the Southwest of North America. Introduced and spreading in the Middle East
Bug Guide - range map with monthly record of photos submitted to the guide.
Food
Larval hosts include the genera (in no particular order):
Salicornia, Suaeda, Chenopodium, Salsola, Atriplex, Halogeton, Batis, Allenrolfea, Sesuvium, Trianthema, Amaranthus, Portulaca, Cycloloma, Bassia, Beta, Grayia, Kochia, Suckleya, Sarcobatus, Krascheninnikovia (= Ceratoides), and probably many more in families Chenopodiaceae, Sesuviaceae, Amaranthaceae, and Portulaceae. Quite likely related families such as Montiaceae, Aizoaceae, Mesembryanthemaceae, Cactaceae, etc. could be utilized as well. [note: Aizoaceae, Mesembryanthemaceae, and Sesuviaceae are often combined; Montiaceae is recently separated from Portulacaceae; Amaranthaceae and Chenopodiaceae are often combined.]
Life Cycle
Multiple broods throughout the year, pausing during drought and cold. Overwintering as pupae and ?adults.
Remarks
Trivia: This species is often considered to be the smallest species of butterfly in the world (of course some individuals are smaller than others). However, there are other species approximately equally small, and there is a tendency toward pride of home (people will tend to claim their local species as the "true" smallest butterfly). Some other contenders include: Tongeia minima from China; Brephidium pseudofea from North America; Brephidium [or Oraidium] barberae from southern Africa; Zizula hylax from Old World tropics; Pseudophilotes sinaicus from Egypt; Micropsyche ariana from Afghanistan; all of them Blues. There may be others as well (perhaps some Skippers).
Print References
Boisduval, J.A. 1852. Lepidoptères de la Californie. Annales de la Société entomologique de France. (2) 10 : 294
Scudder, S.H. 1976. Synonymic List of the Butterflies of North America, North of Mexico. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences. 3: 124
Internet References
Butterflies of America - comprehensive species account.
Works Cited
1.A Catalogue of the Butterflies of the United States and Canada
Jonathan P. Pelham. 2008. The Lepidoptera Research Foundation, Inc.