Amanda's Blue (Polyommatus amandus)

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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.

10978_male_Var_27May08 17388_male_Alpes-Maritimes_06Jul09 21708_male_Alpes-Maritimes_7Jul10
25640_male_Alpes-Maritimes_10Jun11 26584_male_Alpes-Maritimes_08Jul11 10919_female_Var_27May08
32993_male_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_19Jun13 10674_male_Var_20May08 1187_male_Alpes-Maritimes_28May06
21622_male_Alpes-Maritimes_7Jul10 10936_female_Var_27May08 10639_pair_Var_20May08

This is one of the most attractive blues, probably the most. But someone once asked a famous expert what was his favourite butterfly. His answer "whichever one I'm looking at that moment".

 

It is distinctly larger than most blues, which is quite apparent when they are on the wing. The male upperside is a silver-greyish blue, often, but not always, with a darker upf border of broadly consistent width (not borne out by these photographs, though). The female upperside is brown often with a near-full set of uph orange lunules and sometimes some vestigial ones on the upf, although not always so. The male underside is quite characteristic and cannot really be confused with any other species. The female underside is similar with a consistent rich creamy brown colour and the same strong unh lunules and black post-discal series of spots often touching, and usually forming a clear right-angle.

It is a spring butterfly in my experience, emerging at the end of May and not being apparent after early June except at higher altitudes. It is not common but usually seen at medium altitudes of around 1000-1300m, although I have found colonies (which never comprise more than a few individuals) at two locations at around 400m, which is just about the lower end of its altitude range. It is strongly attached to its larval hostplant, Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca) as indicated on several of the above photographs.

 

 
ref sex

observations

alt. m
10978 M

a male with a dark border which is tapering from the apex, not of constant width.

230
17388 M

another beautifully fresh gleaming blue male.

1900
21708 M

a male, quite typical.

1400
25640 M a typical male, with average sized upf borders. The squareness of the hindwing seemed slightly accentuated on 25640. 1400
26584 M rather light borders and rounded hindwing, indicating the degree of variation as it was in company with 25640. It is puddling in company with a Safflower Skipper (Pyrgus carthami) or two, although there were some 50 carthami in total puddling at this site. 1400
32993 M a male, roosting on Vicia cracca in overcast conditions. 1000
10919 F

a female, unmistakeable from other female blues by virtue of its size.

230
10674 M

a male, roosting for the night on Vicia cracca. It is actually on the flimsy flowers, not on the stalks or leaves, and this is the actual angle of resting, so can someone please explain how it does not fall off?

230
1187 M

a male, puddling. The photograph has been rotated 90 degrees anti-clockwise to fit the frame.

330
21622 M

a male taking salts from a manure heap, with quite a light silvery-grey ground colour. It was one of about 20 males in this locality, by far the most I have ever seen in one place.

1400
10936 F

a very strongly marked female underside. Quite breathtakingly beautiful. Sitting, as 10674, on Vicia cracca flowers.

230
10639 PAIR

a mating pair, obligingly stationary for a photograph and nicely in the same plane so that depth of field was not a problem. The male is above. Pity that a bird had taken a chunk out of the female's forewing tip.

230

 

10978_male_Var_27May08

 

17388_male_Alpes-Maritimes_06Jul09

 

21708_male_Alpes-Maritimes_7Jul10

 

25640_male_Alpes-Maritimes_10Jun11

 

26584_male_Alpes-Maritimes_08Jul11

 

10919_female_Var_27May08

 

32993_male_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_19Jun13

 

10674_male_Var_20May08

 

1187_male_Alpes-Maritimes_28May06

 

21622_male_Alpes-Maritimes_7Jul10

 

10936_female_Var_27May08

 

10639_pair_Var_20May08