2016 68c Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly
Eastern tailed-blues are one of North America’s most boldly colored species of butterfly. They have small, thin tails and a wingspan of about an inch. Male butterflies are iridescent blue on the inside of their wings while females are a lighter blue, brown, or gray. Both sexes have two or three orange spots on their bottom wings and are bluish-white on the outside of their wings.
Like other butterflies in the Lycaenidae family, the eastern tailed-blue has a mutually beneficial relationship with ants. As a caterpillar, it eats buds, flowers, and seeds, and secretes a substance called honeydew. This sugary liquid attracts ants that protect the caterpillar from predators. Sometimes the ants will defend the caterpillar even after it pupates.
Adult eastern tailed-blue butterflies like open areas with plenty of light. They drink nectar from the flowers of plants such as sweet clover and wild strawberry. The eastern tailed-blues can be seen perching on leaves or stems to bask in the sun. Unlike most butterflies, which keep their wings closed while resting, eastern tailed-blues rest them at a 45 degree angle.
Eastern tailed-blue butterflies used to only be found in eastern North America, but can now be admired in new areas – like California. Its adaptability means this vibrant butterfly will be around for many years to come.
Issued: September 24, 2016
First Day City: Kansas City MO
Type of Stamp: Non-machineable Surcharge Rate, Mail Use
Printed by: Ashton Potter
Method: Offset, Microprint
Quantity Printed: 150,000,000
The first butterfly stamp was issued in 2010. The USPS worked with the Greeting Card Association for the butterfly series to make it simple for greeting card customers to know which postage to put on their oversized or irregular shaped envelopes. Participating manufacturers print a silhouette image of a butterfly on the envelopes so it's easy to recognize what postage is needed. The Eastern Blue Butterfly stamp marks the 6th butterfly stamp in the series.