eastern tailed-blue

(Cupido comyntas)

Conservation Status
eastern tailed-blue
Photo by Mike Poeppe
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure


not listed


Eastern tailed-blue is a small to medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of to 1.

On the male, the upperside of both wings is medium blue with a broad black marginal band and a white fringe. The hindwing has a single hair-like tail and a row of submarginal black spots on the trailing edge. One or two of the spots near the tail are capped with orange. The tail from one wing of the wings is sometimes missing, having been lost to a predator. The female wings are similar but dark gray usually with no blue near the base.

The underside of both wings is light gray with a thin black margin on the trailing edge; a marginal row of black eyespots; a postmedial row of black dots rimmed with white; and a well-defined, short, black, horizontal, medial stripe. The hindwing has additional medial, white-rimmed black spots; and orange caps on usually 2, sometimes 3, of the marginal eyespots near the tail. There is no blue eyespot near the outer angle.

The eyes are black.

The antennae are black-and-white striped with a white-tipped club.

The caterpillar is wide, somewhat flattened, and short, no more than long. The head is small. It is retracted into the thorax except when feeding. The thorax and abdomen are moderately covered with conspicuous, usually white, sometimes black, star-shaped hairs. The thorax and abdomen are variable in color; sometimes green, sometimes brown tinged with yellow, pink, green, rose, or purple. There is usually a dark brown stripe on the upper (dorsal) surface extending from the thorax to abdominal segment 10. There is also a prominent dark stripe, sometimes edged in pink, in the subspiracular area extending from the thorax to abdominal segment 10. The are dare, ill-defined, oblique lines above the spiracles on thoracic segment 3 and abdominal segments 1 through 6. Mature caterpillars are found from June onward.




Total length: ½

Wingspan: to 1


Similar Species


Western tailed-blue (Cupido amyntula) hindwing underside is paler. The black spots are more or less faint. The male has only one orange-capped black eye spot, but the adjacent spot is sometimes partially capped. The female has some blue at the base of the wings.


Old fields, pastures, forest clearings, powerline cuts, roadsides, and other open areas.




Three broods, mid-May to late September.




Adults often rest with wings open at a 45° angle..


Life Cycle


The females lay eggs singly on flowers and young leaves, or in spring on immature flowering buds. Larvae molt four times before pupating. Late season individuals overwinter as mature larvae, often in seedpods, and pupate in the spring.


Larva Hosts


Buds, flowers, seeds, and sometimes leaves of bush clover (Lespedeza spp.), clover (Trifolium spp.), lupine (Lupinus spp.), pea (Lathyrus spp.), sweet clover (Meliotis spp.), tick-trefoil (Desmodium spp.), vetch (Vicia spp.), and other herbaceous legumes.


Adult Food


Adults have a short tube-like tongue (proboscis) and must nectar on flowers that are open or have short tubes, such as white sweet clover, white clover, beggarticks (Bidens spp.), spreading dogbane, cinquefoil (Potentilla spp.), and strawberry (Fragaria spp.).


Distribution Map



7, 21, 24, 27, 29, 30, 71, 82.







Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  


Papilionoidea (butterflies)  


Lycaenidae (gossamer-winged butterflies)  


Polyommatinae (blues)  


Polyommatini (typical blues)  
  Subtribe Everina  


Cupido (tailed blues)  

GBIF and Catalog of Life (CoL) place the North American “tailed blues” in the genus Elkalyce. No source for this change can be found. CoL lists the Nomenclature Status of Elkalyce comyntas as “potentially valid.”




Elkalyce comyntas

Everes comyntas

Lycaena comyntas


Common Names


eastern tailed-blue










The life stage of some insects undergoing transformation. In caterpillars, the chrysalis.



A small opening on the surface of an insect through which the insect breathes.























Visitor Photos

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Mike Poeppe

    eastern tailed-blue      

Dave Schmiginsky

    eastern tailed-blue      

Alfredo Colon

    eastern tailed-blue      

Wayne Rasmussen

    eastern tailed-blue      

John Shier

    eastern tailed-blue      

Tom Baker

    eastern tailed-blue   eastern tailed-blue  

Crystal Boyd

    eastern tailed-blue      
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
    eastern tailed-blue   eastern tailed-blue  
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Other Videos
  Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly (Lycaenidae: Cupido comyntas) Worn Female
Carl Barrentine

Published on May 27, 2012

Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (26 May 2012).

  Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)
Timothy Ng

Published on Aug 12, 2012

The first one is female. The 2nd one is male with blue upperside.

Kissena Corridor Park, New York City, 8/12/2012 (Sun) afternoon.

camera: Panasonic GH2 + 100-300mm lens

  Eastern Tailed Blue

Published on Jul 17, 2013

Got wet for this one




Visitor Sightings

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  Mike Poeppe

Location: Houston County, MN

eastern tailed-blue  
  Dave Schmiginsky

Location: Kandiyohi County, MN

eastern tailed-blue  
  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

eastern tailed-blue  
  Wayne Rasmussen

Location: Joy Park, Maplewood, MN

eastern tailed-blue  
  Crystal Boyd

Location: Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

eastern tailed-blue  
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings




Created 3/18/2019

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