Euphilotes pallescens elvirae
Elvira's Pallid Blue
This is a rarely-seen blue of the deserts. In southern California, these may be found - if you're fortunate - in patches of Eriogonum plumatella in toasty habitats few are visiting when flights begin in late July/August, and continue into September and perhaps October. The type locality is "3.5 miles southwest of Pearblossom," and there are records from various washes in that area. I've tried a few locations in the Pearblossom area and found plenty of plumatella, but not this distinctive blue. This year (2019), however, I received a good tip about a location within Joshua Tree National Park, and was led to a colony of this butterfly in a place I would never have found on my own. I visited twice in three days and was able to experience this blue for hours. It was just about the only butterfly on the wing other than various white skippers present because of the abundant Apricot Mallow. Males of elvirae weren't opening their wings; females sometimes were. In two visits, I got lots of ventral shots, just one female with wings open, and no male dorsal photos. All-in-all, it was a special experience, as I've wanted to see this butterfly for many years.