Spring Azure

aka Celastrina ladon ladon - these are the first butterflies to emerge in spring that have not overwintered as adults. Instead they overwinter in the pupa stage. Longer days, warming leaf litter and the flowering of spring ephemerals are all factors in their emergence. This one looks very fresh indeed. They mostly rest with their wings closed and you’ll get a bright flash of pilot light blue when the males are in flight. They fly so erratically they’re hard to track and even harder to see when they land. They’re about the size of a US nickel.

I found this one on a naturalist outing with the Wisconsin Natural Resources Foundation this past Friday. The first I’ve seen. Luckily some hepatica and spring beauty were blooming nearby. I’ve read that many caterpillars in this group of butterflies eat fruit and flowers rather than leaves. One web site says they are sometimes tended by ants. Hm. I know ants do that with aphids, but not with these guys so I will have to do more research as to why.

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Anything useful is welcome

Technical Details

Handheld - on these kinds of outings there isn’t time to use tripods or do focus bracketing really.


So I had two shots with slightly different focus points and combined them in Zerene. This is a PMax stack I think.
Cropped some green grass on the left and a leaf vein in front.
Managed all the tonalities and sharpness/texture in Lr as well.


Nice one, Kris. The focus stack worked quite well. I could wish that the near antennae did not cross over the eye, but that’s pretty minor. Well done.

Yeah, that bugs me too, @David_Bostock - but what can you do? I was pressed for time and surrounded by raspberry vines!

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Very interesting, Kris. I’ve never attempted a stack of a butterfly . But I will try it when I find one asleep in the early morning. A really interesting description of another Lycaenidae species whose caterpillar takes great advantage of ants can be found in Wikipedia under “Large Blue”, subsection “Behaviour”.

It was an accidental stack @Mike_Friel - I hadn’t moved much between the two and the butterfly not at all so it was an easy thing for Zerene to handle. So the reward for ant husbandry is the same - sugar water! Ants sure do have a taste for it. Thanks for pointing me to the info.