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Hemiargus ceraunus antibubastis
Copyright by: Beryn Harty, 2014 Mating on Cudjoe Walk
Small butterfly with a wingspan up to 1-1/8 inches. The upperside of the male is lavender blue with a dark narrow border; that of the female is brown with a blue wing base. Both have a small black spot on the outer margin of the hindwing. The underside of the forewing is gray with a row of dark bands. The hindwing has two black spots along the leading margin, a narrow white postmedian band, and one orange-rimmed black spot along the outer margin.
The caterpillar has a black head; the body color ranges from light green to pinkish-red with dark markings and a white stripe bordered by red on the side.
Southern United States west to California, West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America.
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
All year in South Florida; may stray into rest of state, but are not cold-tolerant.
Hammock edges, coastal thickets and open, disturbed sites.
The small, flattened eggs are laid singly on the flower buds or leaves of the host plants.
The adults flutter very close to the ground.
Caterpillars feed on the flowers, young leaves, buds and immature seeds of host plants. Native larval host plants include the cultivated wildflowers eastern milkpea (Galactia regularis), partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata), rabbitbells (Crotalaria rotundifolia) and tropical-puff (Neptunia pubescens), and the vine downy milkpea (Galactia volubilis). Other native host plants include the shrub Carolina indigo (Indigofera caroliniana) and the weedy giant herb danglepod (Sesbania herbacea). Nectar plants include the cultivated native wildflower frog fruit (Phyla nodiflora) and the weedy native Spanish-needles (Bidens alba var. radiata). Larvae also feed on the nonnative herbs creeping indigo (Indigofera spicata) and hairy indigo (Indigofera hirsuta), and the invasive nonnative vine rosary-pea (Abrus precatorius).