Northern Spring Azure (Celastrina lucia)
Description: These are small blue butterflies, the upperside is pale blue (females have a wide, dark border on the forewing), and the underside is gray with conspicuous black markings on the fore and hindwings. Along the margin of the wing undersides are a series of dark crescents that form a zigzag pattern. There are three underside forms; form ‘lucia’ with the margin shaded with dark gray and the central spots merged into one large central spot, form ‘marginata’ with just a dark gray shaded margin, and form ‘violacea’ which lacks the dark gray shading. Wingspan: 18 to 28 mm.
Maritime Distribution: In one form or another throughout the Maritimes. For Atlas results click here.
Provincial Ranks: NB: S5. NS: S5. PEI: S5.
Flight Period: Late April to September.
Host Plant: The larvae feed on the developing flower buds of many species of plants including cherries (Prunus spp.), blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), viburnums (Viburnum spp.), meadowsweet (Spiraea spp.) and Bristly Sarsaparilla (Aralia hispida).
Notes: Until recently it was generally accepted that three species of azure occurred in the Maritimes: Northern Spring Azure (Celastrina lucia), Cherry Gall Azure (C. serotina), and Summer Azure (C. neglecta). These three were identified based on date of collection and subtle differences in appearance. In 2016 Schmidt and Layberry published a study that showed there is just one species of azure in the Maritimes, Northern Spring Azure (C. lucia). That single species has two generations in our region.