Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
- see genus page
for discussion and links
2 specific epithet synonyms listed at All-Leps
: meinersi, watermani
one of 2 species in this genus in North America listed at All-Leps
2 subspecies listed at All-Leps: comyntas, texanus
23-28 mm wingspan in United States (1)
; 16-26 mm in Canada (CBIF
Adult: male's wings above iridescent pale blue with brownish-gray along outer margin; forewings with a short oblique black bar near middle; hindwings with a row of submarginal black spots and a small orange spot at the base of each projecting tail. Female's wings larger with longer tails, gray above on body and wings, 2 or 3 small orange spots with black dots near margin of hindwings. Wings of both sexes below silvery gray with small dark spots and a few orange spots near margin of hindwings. (1)
Larva: body hairy, variably dark pebbly green or various shades of brown, with darker brown middorsal stripe, dark oblique stripes, and white lateral line; head small, black.
Throughout most of United States and southern Canada; abundant in the east. (1)
Uncommon to rare over most of its Canadian range; common only in southern Ontario. (CBIF
Meadows, roadsides, and forest paths. (1)
Flies from Spring to Fall (1)
; May to October in Canada
Caterpillar eats flowers and seeds of a wide variety of native and imported herb and occasionally shrub Fabaceae, including White Clover (Trifolium repens), Red Clover (T. pratense), and Cow Vetch (Vicia cracca).
Eggs are laid singly on flowers and young leaves; two or more generations per year; overwinters as a mature larva, often inside a seedpod.
Unlike most butterflies, this species has thrived where its habitat has been encroached upon by human activities. It is common along freshly mowed roadsides, flying to puddles. Many adults lose their tails.
Western Tailed Blue
) tends to be larger, have fewer wing markings, and be paler beneath. It occurs throughout most of the western half of North America. (1)
C. amyntula often has only one orange spot on ventral HW near tail, as opposed to the 2-3 orange spots found on C. comyntas, but this may not always be a reliable field mark.
and US distribution map (nearctica.com)
pinned adult image
plus description of adult and larva, distribution, similar species, foodplants, biology, flight season, habitat (Butterflies of Canada, CBIF)