Western Pygmy-Blue, Arizona (click image to view larger)
Photographed at Agua Fria National Monument, north of Phoenix, AZ, the Western Pygmy-Blue (Brephidium exile) is found throughout much of the lower portion of western North America (in the far west they can also be found as far north as eastern Oregon). This species preferred habitat is in alkaline areas such as deserts and, along the coast, salt marshes. With an average wingspan of just 1/2"/1.3 cm, it is one of the world's smallest butterflies and is generally considered to be the smallest butterfly in North America (very close in size to its cousin, the Eastern Pygmy-Blue). At that size, not only are they tricky to photograph, they're actually kind of hard to even find!