Long-tailed Blue Lampides boeticus

Scientific Name: Lampides boeticus (Lycaenidae Polyommatinae).

English Name: Long-tailed Blue (Gossamer-winged butterfly family, Blues sub-family).

French Name: L'Azuré porte-queue (='tail bearing blue').

5 Key Characters:
  • medium sized (31 - 41 mm wingspan), large for a blue.
  • upperside of male violet blue narrowly bordered by brown; female dull brown washed with violet on the wing bases.
  • undersides grey brown marbled with white.
  • a white band across the underside of the hind wings.
  • long fine tail and a pair of black 'eyes' on each hind wing.

Lookalikes: None in this area.

Habitat: Open areas, vegetable gardens, urban green spaces.

Flight Period: March-April-May-June-July-August-September-October-November.

Caterpillar and Host Plant: Pea family (Common Bladder Senna Colutea arborescens, Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea Lathyrus latifolius, Garden Pea Pisum sativum, Green Bean Phaseolus vulgaris, Alfalfa Medicago sativa, Spanish Broom Spartium junceum). The caterpillars are cannibals, eating rivals until there is only one per plant. The caterpillar varies considerably, from green to purplish brown often with dark stripes.

Status: This is a cosmopolitan highly mobile and migratory species. Abundant in the south of France, its presence in the Touraine Loire Valley varies from year to year and depends on the migration. Curiously, it is being recorded less and less in this area, despite it being a species one would think would be benefitted by climate change.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

Note the white band on the hind wing and the long 'tails'.

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