When resting on a plant, the small Cassius Blue uses its dark black-and-blue eyespots to confuse predatory birds.
Cassius Blues are members of the Lycaenidae, or the Gossamer-Wing family of butterflies. Gossamer is a light, silky fabric and refers to the fine, delicate wings of this group. The Blues are usually shades of blue or have some blue on their wings. In this species, blue can be seen on the two eyespots under each hindwing as well as on its dorsal area (back side). Cassius Blues bask in the sun with their wings flat, but they rest with them raised, allowing observers to see these bold eyespots clearly. Topside, inner sections of the wings are blue with a thick brown border along the edges. The overall color of under the wings is white with ripples of brown bands across them.
While resting, the butterfly will rub its small hindwings together, mimicking the motion of antennae being cleaned. This may confuse butterfly-eating birds into thinking that the actual head of the butterfly is on the other end of its body. If successfully tricked, the bird attacks the butterfly at the less critical eyespot, giving the butterfly the chance to fly away with only a nip on a hindwing.
The caterpillars of the Cassius Blue are small and green to pale-green. They can be found eating the flowering parts of milkpeas, wild tamarind, and other legumes. Three or more generations can be produced every year, which helps create a stable local population. This species is found in Texas and Florida where they are commonly found all year long. The adults can be seen in gardens, parks, sand dunes, and plant nurseries.
Scientific Name: Leptotes cassius
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 16mm to 25mm (0.62in to 0.98in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.