Brephidium exile life history
Western Pygmy-Blue (Brephidum exile) Life History

10-24-09, ovipositing on Chenopodium

Egg, 10-25-09

Recently emerged caterpillar, 10-29-09

11-08-09, notice how well it is camouflaged among the buds

11-11-09, tended by an ant

11-11-09, a rare glimpse of the head

10-26-09, caterpillar on Amaranthus palmeri

10-29-09, mature caterpillar

11-01-09, prepupal

11-02-09, fresh chrysalis

11-04-09, almost ready to emerge

11-5-09, fresh Wetern Pygmy-Blue

This life history is a compilation from several different caterpillars, because raising a Pygmy-Blue turned out to be far more challenging than I anticipated. In the fall of 2009 the butterflies were abundant, and I found one ovipositing on what is probably Trianthema portulacastrum. I eagerly watched the numerous eggs I found, but apparently they were infertile, for I never saw any evidence of eclosion or caterpillars.

In late October, I observed the pictured female laying eggs on Pitseed Goosefoot, Chenopodium berlandieri. After a few days, I gathered one of these eggs. The caterpillar eclosed but only survived a couple of days. I found and collected a larger caterpillar on the same plant; in gathering food for it I found four more. However, three of these proved to be parasitized, all by different parasites!

In the meanwhile, I had also collected some then-unidentified Blue caterpillars from Pigweed, Amaranthus palmeri. These turned out to be Pygmy-Blues, and gave me the best photos of the chrysalis and fresh adult.

Western Pygmy-Blue Page