Yesterday I pulled one of my "see-if-I-can-photograph-all-the-various-insects-that-are-feeding-at-my-aromatic-asters" marathons. I'll be sharing quite a few of those with you over the next couple posts (Yeah! for native plants!!!), but I wanted to post this one right away.
This is the western pygmy-blue butterfly - the first one I've seen in my yard. (In truth, it's the first one that I've ever seen where I paid enough attention to it to identify it.) There are apparently 2 pygmy-blues, an eastern and a western species. They are the smallest North American butterflies! Note that the aromatic aster blossoms are generally about 1 1/4" in diameter, from petal tip to petal tip....
In this second photo, you can see a little bit of the underside of the wings, which looks very different from the topside, but is quite pretty in a more understated sort of way. The blurry thing to the right of the pygmy-blue is a honeybee on a nearby bloom.
According to Kaufman's butterfly guide, the western pygmy-blues are common in salt marshes, desert salt flats, and disturbed alkaline areas. We are a little east of their normal range, which corresponds fairly well with the dryer regions of the southwest - I guess our summer from hell made them feel right at home.