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Publication #EENY-107

Eastern Pigmy Blue, Brephidium isophthalma pseudofoea (Morrison) (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae)1

Donald W. Hall and Jerry F. Butler2


The eastern pigmy blue is our smallest eastern butterfly. It is found near saltwater—particularly in salt marshes where its host plants occur.


The eastern pigmy blue is found in coastal areas from southern South Carolina to southern central Florida on the Atlantic coast, from the tip of peninsular Florida up the Gulf coast through the Big Bend Area, and from the western panhandle of Florida to eastern Louisiana.


The wingspread is 3/4–5/8 inches (19–23 mm) (Opler and Malikul 1992). Undersides of wings are brown with a row of submarginal black spots with white highlights and are patterned with numerous white dashes and a submedian row of white circles. Upper sides of wings are brown with black spots without highlights.

Figure 1. 

Adult eastern pigmy blue, Brephidium isophthalma pseudofoea (Morrison).

Credit: Jerry F. Butler, University of Florida
[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Eastern pigmy blue eggs are pale blue-green. The larvae are green with small white tubercles that closely match the pattern on the glasswort host plant. Pupae are variable but usually yellow-brown with darker brown dots.

Figure 2. 

Larva of the eastern pigmy blue, Brephidium isophthalma pseudofoea (Morrison).

Credit: Jerry F. Butler, University of Florida
[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Life Cycle

There are many flights all year in Florida. Males patrol near host plants, and courtship occurs in late afternoon. The primary larval host plant is annual glasswort, Salicornia bigelovii Torr. (Chenopodiaceae). Perennial glasswort, Salicornia perennis Mill. and saltwort, Batis maritima L. (Bataceae) also may be used. In the Florida Keys, larvae are attended by ants (Tapinoma sessile [Say]) which stroke them and feed from the dorsal nectary gland on the seventh abdominal segment (Harvey & Longino 1989).

Figure 3. 

Annual glasswort, Salicornia bigelovii Torr. (Chenopodiaceae).

Credit: Donald W. Hall, University of Florida
[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Selected References

Gerberg, E.J. and R.H. Arnett. 1989. Florida Butterflies. National Science Publications, Inc. Baltimore, MD.

Harvey DJ, Longino J. Myrmecophily and larval food plants of Brephidium isophthalma pseudofea (Lycaenidae) in the Florida Keys. Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society. 43(4):332–333.

Opler, P.A. and G.O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies East of the Great Plains. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore, MD.

Opler, P.A. and V. Malikul. 1998. Eastern Butterflies. Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company. New York.

Scott, J.A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press. Stanford, CA.



This document is EENY-107, one of a series of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date August 1999. Revised February 2014 and August 2016. Please visit the EDIS website at This document is also available on the Featured Creatures website at


Donald W. Hall, professor; and Jerry F. Butler, professor, Department of Entomology and Nematology, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.