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Cassius Blue Butterfly (Leptotes cassius)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Cassius Blue Butterfly



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Image Credit: Ron C. from FL
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When resting on a plant, the small Cassius Blue uses its dark black-and-blue eyespots to confuse predatory birds.



Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Patterned insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Lycaenidae
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          Genus: Leptotes
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            Species: cassius
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Leptotes cassius
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 16mm to 25mm (0.62" to 0.98")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, white, black, blue, yellow
Descriptors: eyespots, dots, small, patchy, tail, flying, erratic
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 16mm (0.6in) and 25mm (1.0in)
Lo: 16mm
Md: 20.5mm
Hi: 25mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
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Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Cassius Blue Butterfly may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Cassius Blue Butterfly. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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