Common Blue (Polyommatus Icarus)
The Common Blue is a species of small blue butterflies that are found in Europe, Africa, as well as, some other parts of the world. They are commonly found flying across meadows and shrubby areas between May and October.
Description and Identification
The mature larvae are short, green and furry. Like many other species, they secrete substances containing nutrient that attracts ants. As a result, the ants, in turn, protect the caterpillar from predators.
The chrysalis is olive green or brown in color and are formed on or very close to the ground level.
Sexual Dimorphism: Distinctly present
Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the dorsal side of the males display a much brighter blue coloration with black-brown border and a white fringe, unlike the females that have brown upper wings with a blue dusting and some orange spots. When the wings are closed, the males display a bright cyan hue close to the body of the butterfly that gradually turns white towards the edges. The females have a light copper shade all over. Both the sexes have orange marks around the border of the wings, as well as black spots bordered by white.
Average wingspan: 29–36 mm (1.1–1.4 in)
Flight pattern: Fast and haphazard
Very small, white in color, shaped like flattened spheres with a size of about 0.6 mm; laid singly on young shoots of the host plant
|Distribution||Europe, North Africa, Iran, and the Canary Islands|
|Habitat||Meadow areas, shrubs, flower borders, herb gardens, woodland areas|
|Lifespan of adults||Around three weeks|
|Host plants||Leguminous plants including bird’s-foot trefoil, rest harrow and white clover|
|Adult diet||Flower nectar|
Did You Know?
- The caterpillar of the species feeds on the underside of young leaves while leaving the entire epidermis of the upper leaf intact, creating characteristic silvery blotches on the leaves that are easy to locate.
- A recent study says that there has been an estimated 96% decrease in the common blue population mostly due to habitat loss.