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Santa Barbara Field Guides Butterflies

     Lycaeides melissa
     Melissa Blue

male upperside
male underside
female upperside
female underside

Size: wingspread .8-1.25 in.
Recognition: Male is blue; female is brown or blue with orange band down outer wings and outermost part of wings is dark; underside of both sexes is light gray with orange/ black spot band down outer wings and small black spots around middle to outer wings; white fringes.
Flight period: Adults are active from April to November, which includes 3 flights, but are most common during late spring and early summer.
Hostplants: The larvae feed on various species in the legume family (Fabaceae), such as alfalfa, lupines and sweet clover.
Habitat: Open areas such as alfalfa fields, washes, valleys; intermountain settings.
Distribution: This Blue tends to be quite common, and flies over much of central/midwest U.S., spreading east and west from southern British Columbia to Texas, including southern California to northern Baja. In southern California, the Tehachapi mountains of Kern and Ventura Counties are prime areas for sightings, as are various areas throughout San Diego County.

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