Escher's Blue (Polyommatus escheri)

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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.

17623_male_Hautes-Alpes_09Jul09 21673_male_Alpes-Maritimes_7Jul10 21681_male_Alpes-Maritimes_7Jul10
35450_male_Var_18Jun14 35272_female_Var_7Jun14 25551_female_Alpes-Maritimes_09Jun11
26314_female_Alpes-Maritimes_04Jul11 7571_male_Alpes-Maritimes_26Jun07 11675_male_Alpes-Maritimes_28Jun08
7615_male_Alpes-Maritimes_26Jun07 16878_male_Alpes-Maritimes_27Jun09 22327_male_Hautes-Alpes_15Jul10
24708_male_Var_13May11 35306_male_Var_7Jun14 35727_male_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_29Jun14
35277_female_Var_7Jun14 35722_female_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_29Jun14 26283_female_Alpes-Maritimes_03Jul11

A quite large and very attractive blue, usually found at altitude, at least that is my experience, although I have also found it at very low altitudes. It seems quite widespread across southern France, but I have never seen more than a few in any one place. As with most blues, the male is encountered far more often than the female.

 

The male upperside is a bright blue, with clearly lighter upf veins around the cell area. The margins of both wings are black, of varying width, and there is quite often uph chequering, sometimes quite pronounced. The male underside ground colour is a beautiful clean pale grey colour with very pronounced marginal lunules, which are usually large and very pointed, varying in colour from orange to deep brown.

There is no unf cell spot (c.f. the Common Blue (P. icarus). The female underside is similar but with a clear brown colour, and the spots can sometimes be very large. The less-frequently seen female upperside is brown with a full set of strong orange lunules..
 

This species is referred to as Agrodiaetus escheri in T&L, but now seems to be classified as a member of the Polyommatus family.

 
ref sex

observations

alt. m
17623 M

a male, showing the strong deep blue, pronounced black margins, and slight uph chequering at the margins.

2100
21673 M

a male, with relatively thin black borders and limited chequering.

1400
21681 M

a male with heavy borders, especially on the upf, and chequering.

1400
35450 M a male, fresh and the uph hindwing typically chequered. 220
35272 F a female, also fresh and with strong orange lunules. The size (it's noticeably large) and the strong lunules separate this from other female blues. 220
25551 F a fairly normal female. 370
26314 F a female with a sprinkling of blue scales in the uph submarginal area. 600
7571 M

a male, with a very pale grey underside ground colour. There are no unf orange marginal lunules, and the unh lunules are quite brown and very pointed, often the case with escheri but unusually so here.

1875
11675 M

a male, with a very delicate pale grey colour, making the darker markings stand out.

1200
7615 M

a male, more typical than 7571 with strong bold markings and a darker grey ground colour. The unh marginal lunules are darker orange than most Polyommatus species, becoming quite brown as the unf costa is reached.

1875
16878 M

another example of how beautifully marked the male underside is, especially when as fresh as 16878.

900
22327 M

a rather pale male underside, with mid-orange marginal lunules.

2040
24708 M a very clean grey underside. 140
35306 M a male, quite heavily marked and a strong grey ground colour. 220
35727 M a male, the hindwing allowing a sight of the bright blue upperside. 680
35277 F a female, very boldly marked. Unmistakeable among female blues. 220
35722 F a female, perhaps more lightly marked than the norm, especially around the unh margins. 680
26283 F a typical female underside, replete with very bold black spots. 1080

 

17623_male_Hautes-Alpes_09Jul09

 

21673_male_Alpes-Maritimes_7Jul10

 

21681_male_Alpes-Maritimes_7Jul10

 

35450_male_Var_18Jun14

 

35272_female_Var_7Jun14

 

25551_female_Alpes-Maritimes_09Jun11

 

26314_female_Alpes-Maritimes_04Jul11

 

7571_male_Alpes-Maritimes_26Jun07

 

11675_male_Alpes-Maritimes_28Jun08

 

7615_male_Alpes-Maritimes_26Jun07

 

16878_male_Alpes-Maritimes_27Jun09

 

22327_male_Hautes-Alpes_15Jul10

 

24708_male_Var_13May11

 

35306_male_Var_7Jun14

 

35727_male_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_29Jun14

 

35277_female_Var_7Jun14

 

35722_female_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_29Jun14

 

26283_female_Alpes-Maritimes_03Jul11