The family Lycaenidae is a large and varied worldwide group that has 4,000 to 6,000
species depending on the ever-changing taxonomic flux. They are collectively called
Gossamer Butterflies or Gossamer Wings. The family is further divided into eight
subfamilies. The first is the Theclinae which includes the Hairstreaks, Sunstreaks,
Elfins and others. The second is the Polyommatinae which includes the Blues, Azures,
Arguses, Caeruleans and others. The third subfamily is the Lycaeninae which includes
the Coppers, Sapphires, Silverlines and others. The forth is the Poritiinae which
includes the gems. The fifth is the Miletinae which includes the Brownies, Harvesters,
Darkies, Apeflies and others. The sixth is the Curetinae which includes the Sunbeams.
The seventh family is the Lipteninae which includes about 500 tropical rainforest
gossamer wings. The eighth and final subfamily is the Liphyrinae and includes the
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Celastrina ladon belongs to the subfamily Polyommatinae. This butterfly’s range
is from Alaska and Canada south of the tundra through most of the United States except
the Texas coast, southern plains, and peninsular Florida then south in the mountains
to Columbia. It is found in openings and edges of deciduous woods, old fields, wooded
freshwater marshes and swamps.
The larval food sources includes flowers of a variety of woody shrubs and occasionally
herbs including dogwood (Cornus florida), New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americana) and
meadowsweet (Spiraea salicifolia). Males patrol and perch all day but are most active
from midafternoon until dusk. Eggs are laid on flower buds. Caterpillars feed on
flowers and fruits and are tended by ants. Chrysalids hibernate.