Holly Blue - Celastrina argiolus

Scientific Name: Celastrina argiolus.

English Name: Holly Blue.

French Name: L'Azuré des nerpruns or l'Argus a bande noire.

5 Key Characters:
  • bluish white undersides punctuated by black dots.
  • smallish species (forewing 13 - 17 mm long).
  • upperside of male blue, narrowly bordered by black.
  • upperside of female pale blue to violet blue with a broad black border.
  • flies higher off the ground than other blue butterflies (up to 4m).
Lookalikes: Provencal Short Tailed Blue Everes alcetas, which has a tiny 'tail' on the hind wing.

Habitat: Open woodland and fringes, hedges, gardens.

Flight Period: March-April-May-June-July-August-September-October. The earliest emerging blue butterfly.

Caterpillar: Small and green to purply brown, May to October, overwintering as a chrysalis.

Host Plant: Common Ivy Hedera helix, Buckthorns (Common Dogwood Cornus sanguinea, Italian Buckthorn Rhamnus alaternus), European Spindle Euonymus europaeus, European Holly Ilex aquifolium, Common Heather Calluna vulgaris, and legumes (Common Gorse Ulex europaeus, Hairy Greenweed Genista pilosa, Prostrate Canary Clover Dorycnium pentaphyllum, False Acacia Robinia pseudoacacia, Bladder Senna Colutea arborescens). Eggs are laid on different plants depending on the season - Buckthorns and Holly in the spring, Ivy and Rushes in the summer.

Status: Common, very widespread and quite abundant.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:
Photographs numbered from left to right and top to bottom. All photos can be enlarged in a new window if you click on them. 1 a spring form female in our garden (summer forms have more black).

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