The blues (butterflies)

P1120966 copyChalk-hill Blue – Rodborough Common.

The Stroud Valleys are blessed with a mosaic of habitats that are perfect for a number of species of the family Lycinidae, commonly referred to as the ‘Blues’. Our high grassland commons (Rodborough, Swift’s Hill, Selsley, Edge) and our beacons (Painswick and Haresfield) are great places to see them. Also some of our valley grasslands such as Daneway and Strawberry Banks. Some like the Common Blue, Chalk-hill and Brown Argos can be found in smaller grassland and wildflower areas in our town such as Capel Mill and Wallbridge meadow. They may occasionally visit our gardens, particularly the Common Blue. The Holly Blue can be found in many places in our towns – gardens, parks, cemeteries and river courses.

Many walkers on our grasslands will have seen these dainty insects on the wing, without  being able to distinguish between individual species. Some species are more common than others. Some species are among the rarest butterflies in the UK. Below a listing of the species that can be found in the Stroud area:

Common Blue; Chalk-hill Blue; Brown Argos; Small Blue; Adonis Blue; Large Blue; Holly Blue. Of these the Adonis Blue and particularly the Large Blue are the rarest species. The Large Blue was extinct in the UK and has only returned in recent years.

Left; Male Adonis Blue – an intense blue. Right; Make Small Blue – a dusting of blue on its ash grey wings

It’s the male of the species that are blue in colour. Five of the above species have blue upper and lower wings. The male Small Blue has pale blue on the underwings only, visible side on, when it rests with its wings together. The male Brown Argos has no blue at all, save for some bluish tinges on its thorax  and on its patterned underwings.

Left; Male Common Blue. Right; male Brown Argos

Left; Brown Argos  Centre; Small Blue  Right; Holly Blue

If you would like to learn more about identifying our blue butterflies and any other Uk species, follow the link below to the Butterfly Conservation web site.

Identify a butterfly | Butterfly Conservation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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