We’re excited to introduce you to a new butterfly species in western North America, the Asher’s Blue! Once considered a part of the many subspecies of azure butterflies (Celestrina), this blue is “moving up”. Caitlan LaBar, one of the investigators and authors shares, “It was a big team effort, decades in the making, but only in the last 2-3 years were we able to put the pieces together.” Read the full story here. The Asher’s is found in western Montana and other areas in the northern Rockies west of the divide. In Montana they are frequently associated with riparian corridor habitats. As far as is known, caterpillars feed only on red osier dogwood (Cornus Sericea) and possibly oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor). 

And you may be wondering how the butterfly got its name: 

“Celastrina asheri is named in honor of 8-year-old Asher (Fig. 43). Surname is not given in accordance with family wishes. Asher suffers from an extremely rare neurological disease called 4H (or POLR3B-related) Leukodystrophy. His perseverance and kind heart inspire everyone around him, bringing rays of sunshine into the daily struggle of living with a disease that has no cure. Asher loves blue, which is also the representative color of Leukodystrophy, and he loves spending time outdoors, especially in the mountains. In naming this butterfly Celastrina asheri, Asher’s Blue, it is our wish to bring joy to Asher and his family and help promote awareness of this disease with the hope that one day a cure will be found.”

Size: Male: mean forewing length =13.4 mm. Female: mean forewing length =12.7 mm.

Photo by: Kristi DuBois on 5/3/22 in Missoula, MT