Euphilotes pallescens pallescens

Photo Life History: Euphilotes pallescens pallescens

Habitat:  Sand Dunes in association with host plant

Host Plants:  Eriogonum kearneyi

Suitable Lab Host Plants

How to Find Female Butterflies:  Females can be locally abundant flying in association with its host plant either ovipositing, basking, and/or nectaring. 

How to Care for Live Female Butterflies:  Click here.

Methods of Female Oviposition:  Twin Cup Method.  

How to Find Eggs: Look on open flower petals.  This can be very difficult when the host plant is abundant.  However, observing females oviposit in the wild can also be productive.

How to Hatch Eggs:  Keep egg on original flower petal.  If you remove attached eggs from flower petals, or detach the egg/petals from flower itself, you reduce the odds that the egg will hatch in the lab. 

How to Find Caterpillars in the Field: Look for Ants Tending Caterpillars.  Spotting ants tending lycaenid larvae on buckwheat blooms can be much easier that spotting caterpillars both because of larval camouflage on the host Eriogonum coupled with the dark coloration and speedy motion of ants.  (See this video.)  Finding eggs and smaller larvae can be very difficult, however.  Because Eriogonum kearneyi has many blooms when it goes to flower, if you can't find immatures in an area where you know the adults have flown, you may want to consider taking cuttings of the host flowers (without damaging the basal leaves or roots of these perennial buckwheats), and place in water and observe in the lab in an open terrarium type setup for a few days at which point it will become much easier to locate  larvae.  If you're timing is correct in late August/early September, finding larvae in abundance in established populations is not difficult.

Caterpillar setups:  Open terrariums; Twin Cup Method.

Larva to Pupa:  Larva Changes Color.

How to Find Pupae in the Field:

Number of Broods per Year:  1

Overwintering Stage:  Pupa. 

Overwintering Strategies:  Your Own Backyard;

Post-Hibernation Strategies: This is critical!!!!   Pupae should remain in their outdoor overwintering setup through the spring and summer until roughly August 15 because of the unique relationship between Euphilotes pallescens and Eriogonum kearneyi.  Because Eriogonum kearneyi goes in bloom from roughly the middle of August towards the end of September--depending upon altitude and latitude--pupae will NOT emerge until that timeframe.  Therefore, in order to get pupae of the pallid blue to emerge in the lab, they need to be exposed to outside natural day length.  Also remember to mist spray them from time to time to simulate natural conditions where Eriogonum kearneyi will bloom.  Because insect and other pests are alive and active in the outdoors in the spring and summer, it becomes increasingly important to protect pupae with multiple layers of containers.  Nevertheless, make sure that pupae are still exposed to some degree of indirect sunlight so that they can measure natural daylength and time their emergence correctly.

Avoiding Diapause Techniques:  High Humidity. Exposing pupae to constant mist-spraying can be somewhat productive in getting a certain percentage of your  pupae to emerge immediately and avoid the post hibernation strategies outlined above.  Keep recently pupated pupae soaked.

Disease Prevention:  Change out host plant and remove frass every other day in a twin cup setup.  Pallid blues can be sensitive to disease even in open containers if host and frass is not removed regularly.

Emergence:  Emergence Container

Field Notes:  Larvae refuse Eriogonum racemosum in the lab.  If small larvae are found in the field and fed on healthy host plant, coupled with constant mist spraying of pupae, those same pupae have been known to emerge the same year.