The scientific name for the mission blue butterfly is Icaricia icarioides missionensis, according to San Francisco State University. Mission blue butterflies emerge from their cocoons between March and early July each year. Flowers that mission blue butterflies depend on for nourishment bloom at the same time. The natural habitat of the mission blue butterfly is slowly disappearing.
Male mission blue butterflies have wings with a white fringe and dark black border, according to San Francisco State University. Their upper wings are either silver blue or violet blue. Female mission blue butterflies have dull upper brown wings and only small amounts of blue pigment. Both male and female mission blue butterflies have under wings that are silver or brownish with black speckles.
Mission blue butterflies are only found in three areas in San Francisco, according to San Francisco State University--the Twin Peaks area of San Francisco, Fort Baker in Marin County and San Bruno Mountain in San Mateo County. San Bruno Mountain has the largest concentration of mission blue butterflies out of the three areas. All three of these areas are coastal shrub and grassland habitats.
Mission blue butterflies rely on three species of plants for reproduction, according to San Francisco State University. These plants include the Lindley varied lupin, silver lupin and summer lupin. Mission blue butterflies lay their eggs on these plants. Without these plants, mission blue butterflies cannot survive or reproduce. Butterflies first appeared in tropical regions such as Africa, America and Eurasia between 80 million and 100 million years ago. Butterflies are found on all continents except Antarctica.
The natural habitat of the mission blue butterfly is being rapidly destroyed, according to the University of San Francisco. This is largely because of the building of new developments and the destruction of lupin plants. Efforts are being done to protect the mission blue butterfly by planting more lupin plants in the San Francisco area.
The daily activities of the mission blue butterfly include foraging for nectar, perching, flying, mating and laying eggs, according to the University of San Francisco. Caterpillars feed on the nectar of lupin plants every day.
The mission blue butterfly belongs to the Animalia kingdom, Arthropoda phylu, Insecta class, Lepidoptera order, Lycaenidae family and the Icaricia genus, according to San Francisco State University.
Mission blue butterflies have a wingspan that ranges from 2.6 to 3.6 centimetres, according to San Francisco State University.