Common Blue Butterfly

Polyommatus icarus

Common Blue Butterfly

profile iconHauhechel Bläuling, Polyommatus icarus Paarung
by [email protected] (CC BY-SA 3.0 at)
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Two mating Polyommatus icarus common blue butterflies
profile iconHauhechel Bläuling, Polyommatus icarus Paarung
by [email protected] (CC BY-SA 3.0 at)
1 of 5
The common blue is a small blue butterfly that's in-flight from May to October. They can be found throughout the UK, but numbers have reduced recently due to habitat loss and fragmentation. These pretty blue insects are mostly seen in heathland, woodland and meadow habitats. The caterpillar larvae are not regarded as pests. The main food plants comprise of clover species, rest harrow and bird's-foot trefoil. Caterpillars of the common blue form a mutually beneficial relationship with ants, who in return for a nutrient-rich secretion, will protect the caterpillars from predators whilst they develop.
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Traits

A pretty insect to watch that's also a beneficial pollinator too.

Appearance

Males tend to be more consistent in their appearance, appearing a more vivid blue. Bright blue wings are enclosed within a pale brown border and white fringe. Females are much more varied in their appearance. Generally, they possess orange-brown markings along the edge of their hindwings. Some possess blue scales, whereas, in others, the blue colouring is completely lacking. When resting, the wings of both males and females appear bronze-brown with black and orange markings, the female appears darker in direct comparison. Caterpillars are pale green, short and furry. They are active during the day. The eggs are tiny, flat and white in colour. They are laid on the upper surface of plant species such as bird's foot trefoil.

Symptoms

These butterflies are attracted to areas where bird's foot trefoil grows in large quantities. They lay clusters of white, flat eggs on the surfaces of leaves.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Lepidoptera

Family

Lycaenidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

Can be found throughout the UK.

Biological treatment

Caterpillars feed on wild, leguminous plants such as Lotus corniculatus. It's not advised to remove these insects from the environment due to the range of benefits they provide to the wider ecosystem.

Chemical treatment

It's not advised to use chemical treatments against this species.

Attracts

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Knowledge and advice

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