Adonis Blue (Lysandra bellargus)

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2014 photographs highlighted in green. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

21694_male_Alpes-Maritimes_7Jul10 35486_male_Var_19Jun14 14415_female_Var_29Sep08
5908_female_Var_27May07 14290_female_Var_12Sep08 29349_male_Var_17May12
15421_male_Var_24May09 13928_male_Var_27Aug08 34359_male_Var_10Sep13
 
10159_pair_Var_1May08 9395_female_Var_30Aug07  

A species with restricted range in the UK, but occurring in nearly every French dpartement, sometimes very common, and often found where the larval hostplant Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa) grows. It is slightly larger than the Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) with which it is most likely to be confused, at least on a frequency basis. The male upperside is a very distinctive bright blue, often discernible in flight, with the characteristic black chequering on the white margins where the veins cut the margin. There are occasionally black spots in the marginal areas of the uph; there is a species known as the Spotted Adonis Blue (Lysandra punctifera) but this does not occur in France.

 

The female upperside is basically brown, as with most blues, but it has varying amounts of blue according to locality. Generally in my experience the female is plain brown at low altitudes but with increasing amounts of blue as the altitude increases, with a very blue form known as ceronus and intermediary forms which could perhaps be described as semi-ceronus.

The underside is superficially similar to icarus, especially as bellargus has a unf cell spot which many Polyommatus species do not have. The male underside ground colour can vary from grey to pale brown, especially the unh, and the female is usually a deeper but more consistent brown.

 

Bellargus is actually related to the Chalk-hill Blue (L. coridon) which becomes more apparent on comparison of the underside patterns. The normal brown form of the female can be very similar, sometimes almost indistinguishable, from the female coridon.

 

In the new European taxonomy, this species now has the scientific name Polyommatus bellargus.

 
ref sex

observations

alt. m
21694 M

quite lightly chequered fringes.

1400
35486 M a male, quite fresh and showing the strong bright blue which makes bellargus almost identifiable in flight. The chequering of the fringes is also strong. 780
14415 F

a female with almost completely blue hindwings, with the orange lunules merging into the blue.

780
5908 F

a fabulously marked female, with a full set of orange uph lunules and even a reasonable set on the upf. There is a smattering of blue scales, most pronounced at the outer edges of the uph lunules. The female is quite variable, usually plain brown, 5908 being quite strongly marked compared to the norm.

780
14290 F

another delicately marked female, with blue scales setting off the strong hindwing lunules.

220
29349 M a male with a rather grey unh ground colour roosting on a blue flower. 220
15421 M

a typical male underside, with clear contrast in the brown ground colour of the unh and the grey of the unf.

220
34359 M a very crisply marked male, taking salts from the ashes of a bonfire. 220
13928 M

a male, with rather browner colouring, especially the hindwing, fairly typical.

185
10159 PAIR

a mating pair, female above.

185
9395 F

this female has a fairly standard deep brown underside ground colour, particularly on the unh, contrasting well with the bright orange lunules.

780

 

21694_male_Alpes-Maritimes_7Jul10

 

35486_male_Var_19Jun14

 

14415_female_Var_29Sep08

 

5908_female_Var_27May07

 

14290_female_Var_12Sep08

 

29349_male_Var_17May12

 

15421_male_Var_24May09

 

13928_male_Var_27Aug08

 

34359_male_Var_10Sep13

 

10159_pair_Var_1May08

 

9395_female_Var_30Aug07