Monday, 17 September 2012

Fresh lilac blues

The flying season of the Common Blue butterfly, Polyommatus icarus, is coming to an end. The adult generation will die off in the next few weeks and caterpillars will overwinter and pupate in spring to emerge at the beginning of June. The Common Blue has two generations in the south of the UK, but only one in Scotland. In between, a second generation might be attempted depending on weather conditions. These individuals look so fresh I find it difficult to believe they have been around since June.
 Although I have only seen this butterfly rarely in my garden, it is a regular of the local wildlife garden, where there is abundant Bird's Foot Trefoil, the primary larval food plants. I photographed this pair of Common blues there on the 7th of September. The male's upper wings are an iridescent violet-blue (above), while the female has only a dusting of blue scales over brown.
Female Common Blue
Male Common Blue

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