buckwheat blue male
buckwheat blue female on bud
square-spotted female

Got the Blues?  If you can’t beat them join em!

(Square-spotted & Dotted Buckwheat Blues)

Whether your feeling a bit low or not, chilling with some Blues is bound to better your mood. I found this straggle of buckwheat lovers partying it up on the trail to Holy Jim Falls in the Santa Ana Mountains, CA. The females were laying eggs, the males were puddling… all were having a grand time just hanging with the soft, lush buckwheat ( Eriogonum fasciculatum foliolosum). Don’t get me wrong, being with these guys was very cool and I loved every moment of it, but keeping company with the Buckwheat Blues can also be very confusing. Even after sharing an intimate afternoon with these butterflies, I still could not clearly tell who was a dot and who was a square.

Fred Heath, a fellow groupie and author of An Introduction to Southern California Butterflies, had this to say about his experiences with these particular butterflies. “Distinguishing the Square-spotted Blue (Euphilotes battoides) from the Dotted Blue (Euphilotes enoptes) is quite difficult…”. Mr. Heath goes on to say that “Generally, the Square-spotted has heavier black markings below, including the lines along the margins, and the orange in its hindwings is continuous as opposed to being separated into spots.”

Hmmmmm, thanks so very much to Mr. Heath, could be my mellow state of being, but I am still feeling a bit bemused as to which species is which here. DNA barcoding where are you when I need you! (read more on this here http://www.lepbarcoding.org/index.php ) Based on what I can see I am guessing that both of the aforementioned species were represented on the trail to Holy Jim Falls, although, I am not certain and welcome any feedback or commentary. Just don’t bring me down ok… or else I’ll have to be off chasing those blues again… -K.D’Angelo

dotted blue laying eggsbuckwheatnative prairie sunflower
blue on buckwheat