Celastrina nigra - (W. Forbes, 1960)
Dusky Azure
Other English Common Names: dusky azure
Synonym(s): Celastrina ebenina
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Celastrina nigra (W. Forbes, 1960) (TSN 777899)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.121137
Element Code: IILEPG0020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Butterflies and Skippers
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Lycaenidae Celastrina
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Opler, P. A., and A. D. Warren. 2002. Butterflies of North America. 2. Scientific Names List for Butterfly Species of North America, north of Mexico. C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 79 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B02OPL01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Celastrina nigra
Taxonomic Comments: Also known as C. ebenina.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 18Aug2009
Global Status Last Changed: 01Sep1998
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N4 (01Sep1998)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Arkansas (S4), Illinois (S2), Indiana (S2), Kentucky (S3), Maryland (SH), Missouri (S2S4), North Carolina (S2), Ohio (S1S3), Pennsylvania (SX), Tennessee (S2), Virginia (S3S4), West Virginia (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 250-20,000 square km (about 100-8000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Central Appalachian species: Illinois and West Pennsylvania south to North Carolina. Also occurs in Missouri and Arkansas.

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Population Size: 10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (250-20,000 square km (about 100-8000 square miles)) Central Appalachian species: Illinois and West Pennsylvania south to North Carolina. Also occurs in Missouri and Arkansas.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AR, IL, IN, KY, MD, MO, NC, OH, PAextirpated, TN, VA, WV

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
IN Clark (18019), Floyd (18043)
MD Washington (24043)*
NC Clay (37043), Graham (37075), Jackson (37099), Macon (37113), Mitchell (37121), Swain (37173)*
PA Clinton (42035)*
TN Cumberland (47035)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Middle West Branch Susquehanna (02050203)+*, Conococheague-Opequon (02070004)+*
05 Silver-Little Kentucky (05140101)+, Blue-Sinking (05140104)+
06 Nolichucky (06010108)+, Watts Bar Lake (06010201)+, Upper Little Tennessee (06010202)+, Tuckasegee (06010203)+, Lower Little Tennessee (06010204)+, Hiwassee (06020002)+, Sequatchie (06020004)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Butterfly, Lycaenidae.
Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood
Habitat Comments: Moist deciduous forests, esp. shaded northern slopes, where its host, Aruncus dioicus, occurs.
Adult Food Habits: Nectarivore
Food Comments: Caterpillar Hosts: Goat's beard (Aruncus dioicus) in the rose family. Adult Food: Flower nectar, including wild geranium (Lotts and Naberhaus 2017).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Celastrina Species (Azures)

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A location, generally a woodland or forest, where the species occurs, or has occurred, where there is potential for persistence or continued recurrence. Minimally a suitable habitat with the larval foodplant where the species has been verified by specimens or photographs. In some situations sight records will suffice but these are not recommended except for summer records for C. NEGLECTA and should be used only with the approval of an expert highly familiar with the local fauna. Not all specimens and certainly not all photographs are presently reliably identifiable for some taxa in some places, so in some cases a series may be needed.
Mapping Guidance: Occurrence boundaries will normally closely match the limits of the foodplants except in summer for C. NEGLECTA. This is especially helpful for taxa like C. NIGRA, NEGLECTAMAJOR and HUMULUS that feed on understory plants that are somewhat to highly localized. With taxa feeding on co-dominant subcanopy or shrub layer plants like flowering dogwood, holly, highbush blueberries, viburnums etc. boundaries may be very hard to define and thus arbitrary. Consult habitat and foodplant comments fields for species-specific information on what constitutes suitable habitat when mapping occurrences for individual species.
Multiple colonies within a single patch of forest should nearly always be treated as a metapopulation.

Separation Barriers: There are no actual data, but the forest and woodland species seem unusually reluctant to fly more than about 15 meters into open habitats. So there may be cases where croplands, paved areas etc. should be treated as barriers and not merely unsuitable. Two lane roads are definitely not barriers if forest occurs on both sides.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: Within continuous forest use the suitable habitat distance unless there are gaps with no foodplant of at least half the suitable habitat distance.
Separation Justification: No real data are known. However on warm sunny days the spring woodland taxa such as LADON, LUCIA, IDELLA are easily observed flying widely throughout any available habitat as long as their common foodplants are present at all in the subcanopy or shrub layer. Under cooler conditions they concentrate in protected sunny areas and can give the false impression of small localized occurrences or that they stay along paths. In places like southern New Jersey and some parts of the Appalachians these azures are so ubiquitous in the woods that EOs are virtually undefinable. One can easily directly observe that occurrences cover several square kilometers if the foodplants do. As far as known the species such as NEGLECTAMAJOR and NIGRA that feed on more localized forest understory plants stay within a kilometer and usually much less of them. The woodland and forest species almost never move even 100 meters into open fields or residential areas, although they do move across powerlines and roads with woods on both sides. For example Schweitzer has never seen C. IDELLA or C. LADON LUCIA in his yard in 13 years despite presence of the foodplant for both within less than a kme and some of the best occurrences globally of the former within about five kilometers. Probably larger distances are appropriate for C. NEGLECTA which readily enters and breeds in towns and will cross larger fields, but for now no separate Specs are suggested for that very common species. Instead be more liberal in applying suitable habitat distance with this species. It is less clear what Specs should be for species 2 (cherry gall azure) but it seems to occur along forest edges and more widely in open woodlands such as barrens or outcrops. For now use the generic Specs
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Some occurrences of C. NEGLECTA, LADON LADON, C. LADON LUCIA, and in New Jersey also IDELLA, can easily be observed to extend over several kilometers in at least one direction. At least in Schweitzer's experience, occurrences under 50-100 hectares are unusual but occurrences of 200-500 hectares are rather routine for these four taxa. However some arbitrary limit is needed in places where the habitat and foodplant are contiguous for large distances. This figure is recommended with large habitats until additional sampling establishes the correct (generally larger) extent. With smaller habitats (up to 400 hectares) assume full occupancy.
Date: 25Jul2001
Author: Schweitzer, D. F.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 19Jun1987
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Opler, P.A.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 15May2001

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Allen, T.J. 1997. The butterflies of West Virginia and their caterpillars. Pittsburgh, PA. University of Pittsburgh Press.

  • Belth, Jeffrey E. 2013. Butterflies of Indiana A Field Guide. Indiana University Press.Bloomington, IN.

  • CLENCH, H. K. 1972. CELASTRINA EBENINA, A NEW SPECIES OF LYCAENIDAE (LEPIDOPTERA) FROM THE EASTERN UNITED STATES. ANN. CARNEG. MUS. 44:33-44.

  • COVELL, C.V., JR. 1999. THE BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS (LEPIDOPTERA) OF KENTUCKY: AN ANNOTATED CHECKLIST. KENTUCKY STATE NATURE PRESERVES COMMISSION SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL SERIES 6:1-220.

  • Natural Resources Commission. 2014. Roster of Indiana Animals, Insects, and Plants That Are Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened or Rare. Information Bulletin #2 (Sixth Amendment. 20pp.

  • Opler, P. A., and A. D. Warren. 2002. Butterflies of North America. 2. Scientific Names List for Butterfly Species of North America, north of Mexico. C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 79 pp.

  • Pelham, J. P. 2008. A catalogue of the butterflies of the United States and Canada with a complete bibliography of the descriptive and systematic literature. The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera. Volume 40. 658 pp. Revised 14 February, 2012.

  • Shuey, John. 1995. Indiana S-Ranks for Butterflies. Memorandum to Cloyce Hedge. 10 pp.

  • Shull, Ernest M. 1987. The Butterflies of Indiana. Publ. by Indiana Acad. Science, distributed by Indiana Univ. Press, Bloomington/Indianapolis, 262 pp.

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