Common Blue Butterfly - Western Isles - Hebrides Insects

Common Blue Butterfly

Common Blue Butterfly - Western Isles
Polyommatus icarus

One of Scotland's most familiar butterflies. The Common Blue Butterfly is one of the UK's and Scotland's most common butterflies.

Female is Brown with Red Spots
Actually the female is usually a brown colouring with red spots on the wings and a blue dusting near to the body.

The females vary from those with mostly brown upper wings and orange crescents, usually more common in the south, to those with more blue, found farther north and west.

On sunny days you can sometimes find these butterflies feeding together in small colonies.

Common blue caterpillars hibernate and pupate in April and May - adults being around in May and June.The caterpillars are short, green and furry. They feed on the underside of young leaves, leaving the upper leaf epidermis intact. This creates silvery blotches on the leaves that are easy to spot.

Butterfly Overview - Common Blue Butterfly
Latin name
Polyommatus icarus

Common But Declining
This small butterfly although commonly seem throughout Scotland and The Western Isles is still very pretty,

The male has blue wings with black-brown border and thin white fringe. The female is brown. and can have varying amounts of brown on the wings with red spots on the wings Undersides have a greyish ground colour in the males and more brownish in the females.

Males and females have a row of red spots along the edge of the hind wings (extending onto the forewings though generally fainter, particularly in the males where they are sometimes missing altogether). There are about a dozen black centred white spots on the hind wings, nine on the forewings.

Wingspan approximately 35mms. The green caterpillars are about 10mms long, quite flattened in appearance, and have a shiny black head.

Meadows, gardens, grassland,moorland

The Common Blue butterfly feeds on nectar from flowering plants. The caterpillars feed on bird's-foot trefoil - a tiny yellow flower which is plentiful in The Western Isles.

May to late October.
Hibernation occurs as a half grown larvae. The larvae creates a substance called honey dew, which the ants eat while the butterfly lives in the ant hill.

The chrysalis is formed on the ground where it is attended by ants which will often take it into their nests. The larvae make substance called honey dew, which the ants eat while the butterfly lives in the ant hill.

The further South the butterflies are breeding - means that sometimes there can be two or even three breeds

Misc. Info
The Common Blue butterfly is one of the butterflies in the Lycaenidae Family of butterflies. These are the second largest family of butterflies in the world and there are over 6000 species. Members of this family are also called the 'gossamer winged butterflies'. They represent around 40% of all known butterfly species.

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