Fw: Northern Spring Azure (Celastrina lucia) confirmed in Virginia

Gary Anweiler Edmonton Alberta Canada gganweiler at sprint.ca
Fri Jun 8 20:16:14 EDT 2001

In the early 70's I found Celastrina ovipositing on Ledum in the Mackenzie
River Valley of the western NWT of Canada.  What I found most interesting
was they only used the narrow-leafed species, which was much less common
than the broader-leafed species.  I observed a number of ovipositings during
this period.  For an insect that is reported to use a variety of hosts, this
population was very particular.

Gary Anweiler, Edmonton Alberta Canada

Chris J. Durden <drdn at mail.utexas.edu> wrote in message
news: at pop3.norton.antivirus...
> If all this is correct, and I think it probably is. The records of
> *Celastrina* from Travis Co. Texas need to be changed from *ladon* to
> *neglecta*.
>     I suspect that the New England and Appalachian *lucia* are not that,
> *lucia* was described from northern Manitoba where there lives a muskeg
> specialist that ranges east to Ontario, Quebec and probably northern New
> England. In Ontario and Quebec both these "species" have been determined
> *lucia*. A larval food of one is *Nemopanthus mucronatus*, and of the
> is *Spiraea latifolia*. It is possible that the *Nemopanthus* feeder is
> distinct from true *lucia* which may feed on *Vaccinium* spp. in the
> Hudsonian Zone.
> ................Chris Durden
> At 12:45 AM 6/2/2001 -0400, you wrote:
> >The following post was sent to several lep groups but not this one. I am
> >forwarding it as it is very important for several reasons.  I will add
> >one of the many rare and odd butterflies I have found this May in Clay
> >NC is an odd male Celastrina with very checkered margins that may well
> >up proving to be the C. lucia below and extend this range even farther
> >south.  But this remains to be shown. Ron
> >
> >----- Original Message -----
> >From: "Harry Pavulaan" <harrypav at hotmail.com>
> >Subject: Northern Spring Azure (Celastrina lucia) confirmed in Virginia
> >
> >
> >      On 5/5/01, while conducting Azure research under permit in
> >  National Park, near Big Meadow in Page County, I collected several
> >  including several typical Celastina ladon.  One of these specimens
> >perfectly matched individuals found much further north in Pennsylvania
> >New Jersey.
> >    This was determined to be a state record Celastrina lucia (Northern
> >Spring Azure) for Virginia.  Specimen is a female, deep, dusky variety of
> >the "marginata" form (note: "marginata" is a form described from a Maine
> >  specimen of C. lucia and has also been applied by authors to a similar
> >  margined form of C. ladon).  The reason specimens are collected is to
> >obtain detailed or microscopic analysis of subtle features which are not
> >readily apparent to someone who is simply watching butterflies.
> >
> >      Celastrina ladon, the Spring Azure, possesses a unique male wing
> >  structure which can generally only be seen with the aid of a microscope
> >  very strong pocket scope with a magnification greater than 40x).
> >do not possess this structure and must be determined by overall general
> >  appearance which is not always reliable, but can be told from other
> >  by their deep violet color.  Through breeding experiments, it has been
> >  proven that C. ladon is a single-brooded spring species that does not
> >  produce a summer form.  Artificially-bred summer individuals of C.
> >  still contain the unique scale structure which is not present in the
> >  relative, C. neglecta, the Summer Azure.
> >
> >      Celastrina neglecta, the Summer Azure, differs from C. ladon by
> >several features, including wing scale structure, overall coloration,
> >hostplant choices, and life history.  Neglecta is a multivoltine species
> >emerging in May in the Washington D.C. region and producing multiple
> >throughout the summer.  It is also capable of producing a spring flight
> >which Dr. David Wright and I are studying.  This spring flight does not
> >consistently occur wherever the summer broods fly, and may fly with C.
> >ladon in some places or completely replaces C. ladon in others.  Thus,
> >observers have no clue which species they are actually seeing as the two
> >appear almost identical to each other.  Only examination of the
> >reveals the subtle but consistent differences in the males, and the
> >strikingly different females. Spring  brood neglecta females are
> >metallic blue compared to violet colored ladon females.
> >
> >      Celastrina lucia (Northern Spring Azure) males do not possess the
> >unique wing scale structure of C. ladon.  Their scales are "typical" for
> >Azures. However, they can be told from other Azures in this region by
> >overall appearance and their hostplant preferences.  Lucia is also a
> >single-brooded spring species.  Artificially-produced summer individuals
> >look very similar to the natural spring form and look nothing like the
> >related C. neglecta. These "false summer brood" individuals possess one
> >feature: heavily checkered wing margins.
> >
> >On 4/29/01, I captured a female Azure near the summit of Reddish Knob, on
> >  the Virginia side in Rockingham County.  This female, being worn, was
> >  undeterminable to species but picked my interest.  She was brought back
> >  lay eggs in captivity to produce an artificial summer brood (Black
> >  an almost universal Azure host, was chosen and she laid several eggs on
> >the unopened flower buds).  The caterpillars fed on the plant but were
> >still undeterminable as to species.  Today, 6/1/01, several of the
> >chrysalids emerged, producing several very distinct C. lucia adults, with
> >several displaying strongly-checkered wing margins and a tendency for the
> >underside markings to be enlarged in about half of the specimens.  This
> >confirms the earlier state record of lucia from Shenandoah National Park
> >and extends the range of lucia further south.
> >
> >      This find is more important than most people realize, as there is
> >still debate over whether C. ladon and C. lucia are distinct species or
> >just subspecies of the same species.  Some "experts" feel that subspecies
> >can fly together.  However if this were the case, then they would
> >interbreed
> >over time and any differences would be absorbed in the population and the
> >subspecies differences would essentially be erased.  Subspecies are
> >essentially geographic races and do not fly together, thus the presence
> >phenotypically-differentiated lucia so far south into the mountains of
> >Virginia is proof that it is not a subspecies of ladon, but rather a
> >high-altitude species that flies along with the closely-related ladon
> >without interbreeding.  Were they to interbreed, lucia would not survive
> >in such small numbers on the mountain ridges.  This is a rather
> >biological concept.
> >
> >      This also confirms the importance and value of scientific method,
> >  today.  After hundreds of thousands of years of existence, and two or
> >three hundred years of collecting in the Virginia mountains, this has
> >just now been discovered!  With only simple observation, we would never
> >know this to be.  Knowing this information, we are now aware of the
> >presence
> >of lucia on some of the higher mountain ridges of northern Virginia and
> >take measures to protect the species including the avoidance of using
> >pesticides in these areas.
> >
> >  Harry Pavulaan
> >
> >
> >
> >
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