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New Hampshire State Butterfly
(Lycaeides melissa, subspecies samuelis)
Adopted in 1992.
The state butterfly is the Karner Blue, Lycaeides melissa, subspecies samuelis, is hereby designated as the official state butterfly of New Hampshire.
New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA) 3:18
Melissa Blue (Lycaeides melissa [W. H. Edwards])
Wing span: 7/8 - 1 3/8 inches (2.2 - 3.5 cm).
Identification: Upperside of male blue with narrow dark border; female brown with blue tinge. Underside with continuous black line along outer margin of both wings. Red-orange submarginal row is continuous in subspecies melissa and divided into separate spots in subspecies samuelis.
Life history: Males patrol near host plants for females. Eggs are laid on assorted parts of the host plant or on nearby debris. Caterpillars eat young leaves and are tended by ants who feed on the caterpillars' sugary secretions.
Flight: Two broods from May-August for the Karner Blue (subspecies samuelis) in the East; three broods from April-October for subspecies melissa in the West.
Caterpillar hosts: Lupine (Lupine perennis) for the Karner Blue. The western population feeds on various legumes of the pea family including Astragalus, Glycyrrhiza, Lotus, Lupinus, and Medicago species.
Adult food: Adult Karner Blues have been observed nectaring on over 50 different species of flowers. They seem to select the nectar species with the greatest total number of flowers or flowering heads, usually yellow or white.
Habitat: Karner Blue (subspecies samuelis) inhabits sandy pine prairies, barrens, and lakeshore dunes in the east. Subspecies melissa is found in the west in open, weedy areas and prairies.
Range: The small, isolated colonies of the Eastern population (subspecies samuelis) occur from southern New Hampshire and central New York west to Wisconsin. The western population (subspecies melissa) is found in the Intermountain West from Canada to Baja California, plains, and prairies east to northwestern Iowa and southwestern Minnesota.
Many states have selected insects as one of their state symbols, however nine states (out of 50) have no official state insect as of 2008.