Lycaenidae, Leach, 1815

Pohl, Greg, Anweiler, Gary, Schmidt, Christian & Kondla, Norbert, 2010, An annotated list of the Lepidoptera of Alberta, Canada, ZooKeys 38 (38), pp. 1-549: 174

publication ID 10.3897/zookeys.38.383


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51. Lycaenidae  – gossamer wings (coppers, hairstreaks, and blues)

Members of the family Lycaenidae  are small butterflies with forelegs that are not functional for walking. Tibial spurs are reduced to one pair or are absent. Structural blue and copper colors are prevalent. Eyes are indented next to the antennae, and the face is much taller than wide. Males often have distinct patches of androconial scales on the dorsal wing surfaces. Most larvae are plant feeders, but a few are lichen feeders; some are carnivorous on ant broods or Homoptera  . Several species have complex chemically mediated interactions with ants.

The family Lycaenidae  as currently recognized comprises five subfamilies (Ackery et al. 1999). Over 6000 species are known worldwide, with the greatest diversity in the tropics. One hundred and fifty-eight species are known from North America; 39 species are known from AB. The three tribes within Lycaeninae  have been treated as separate subfamilies by many authors, e.g., Layberry et al. (1998).