New Jersey Butterflies

Appalachian Azure

Celastrina neglectamajor

Identification: Very small—about 1.25". Seldom seen with wings open. Below: Very pale bluish-white, with small, scattered gray spots that are sometimes nearly absent. Similar species: Very similar to Spring and Summer azures but perhaps a bit larger. Difficult to separate with confidence (see Comments below).

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. Local in Hunterdon, Somerset, Warren, Morris, Mercer, and Sussex counties.

NJ Range Map-Appalachian Azure

Habitat: Deciduous woodland edges and openings with food plant. Not a typical garden species.

Flight Period: From about early May to late June. Extreme dates: 5/5—6/30.

Larval Food Plants: Flower buds of Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa), formerly (Cimicifuga racemosa), a tall, native perennial found locally, primarily in the Highlands and Ridge and Valley provinces.

Overwintering Stage: Pupa.

Best Locations: Sourland Mountain Preserve, Teetertown Preserve, Schooley’s Mountain CP, Stokes SF, Black River WMA.

Comments: The best way to find this species is to stake out large colonies of the food plant in late May and early June. If you see any azures laying eggs, they are most likely to be Appalachians. But butterfliers beware—Summer Azure may use this food plant as well!



Appalachian Azure

Suffern, NY, 6/25/11, on Black Cohosh.


Black Cohosh

Stand of Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa), formerly (Cimicifuga racemosa), in transmission line ROW. This locally common upland member of the buttercup family is the only known host plant for Appalachian Azure.