Euphilotes glaucon comstocki

Glaucon Blue

Euphilotes glaucon comstocki flies from mid-June into August with Eriogonum umbellatum as its host. The type locality is Tehachapi, but it isn't clear whether it still flies quite that far south any longer. It has definitely appeared to the north at several umbellatum patches in the Piutes (such as Piute Mtn. Rd.), the Greenhorns (up Old State Rd.), and can be found now along Sherman Pass Road (Alder Creek 6800' on the west end, Kennedy Meadows to the east; I haven't yet seen the latter population). Ken Davenport wrote in his 2014 Kern/Tulare book that this butterfly "recently" colonized the Alder Creek spot after it burned. He says it was first seen at Kennedy Meadows (by James Scott) and at Piute Mountain Vista (by Jim Brock) on the same day - July 6th - in 1974. Before that, as Ken notes with reference to the Emmels' book, it was only known from a series deposited at the L.A. Natural History Museum after Comstock collected them from "Tehachapi" on July 22, 1918 (Emmel and Emmel, Butterflies of Southern California, 1973, p.73; under "Philotes battoides subspecies").

Oakley Shields named them ssp. comstocki in a 1975 paper on Philotes blues that was part of his doctoral work. The full name was Shijimiaeoides (now Euphilotes) battoides comstocki. As time passed, lepidopterists in California noted that there were different battoides subspecies using different hosts at the same site, one of them comstocki. Of course, this suggested more than one species. In Andrew Warren's 2005 book on the butterflies of Oregon, he considered all umbellatum-feeding Euphilotes blues (in Oregon at least) to be species glaucon (formerly a subspecies of battoides). His treatment suggests our comstocki belongs within glaucon, which we know can fly with battoides or bernardino blues without intermixing.

Euphilotes glaucon comstocki - Glaucon Blue
Euphilotes glaucon comstocki from Piute Mountain Road on July 9, 2017. This was between mile 6 and 7 from the west entry to that road.
Euphilotes glaucon comstocki - Glaucon Blue
Euphilotes glaucon comstocki were out in force June 28, 2017, at Alder Creek at 6800' elevation on the Sherman Pass Road. Some show very little orange spotting on the hind wing below.
Euphilotes glaucon comstocki - Glaucon Blue
Females will spread their wings; males, not so much. What is true of many "blues" is true of these: males are blue, females brown. Same place and day as above; same for those below.
Euphilotes glaucon comstocki - Glaucon Blue
A little more orange on the hindwing for this one.
Euphilotes glaucon comstocki - Glaucon Blue
One more Euphilotes glaucon comstocki, this one nectaring on ceanothus.

©Dennis Walker