Insects of Britain and Ireland: butterflies

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Adults. Wingspan 27–30 mm; the fringes not banded. Medium built; short-bodied to medium-bodied. The eyes white-rimmed; notched or emarginate at the bases of the antennae and contiguous with the bases of the antennal sockets; glabrous. Antennae reaching noticeably less than halfway to the wingtips to reaching about halfway to the wingtips. The antennal clubs gradual-elongate. Labial palps ascending. Having all 6 legs fully developed and operational for walking. Fore-legs without a tibial epiphysis. Tibiae of middle legs 2-spurred. Posterior tibiae 2-spurred.

Forewings. Forewings apically blunt to pointed. The outer and hind margins angled at about 98–100 degrees. The outer margins convexly curved. Uppersides of the forewings lilac blue (in the male), or fuscous (rather dark, iridescent, with a few purplish scales in the female); without a discal mark; unpatterned save for the very narrow dark border of the termen, which contrasts with the white fringe and is more obvious in the male.

Hindwings. Hindwings broadly rounded; tailed; the tail very short filamentous and delicate; with the outer margins not scalloped. Uppersides of the hindwings lilac blue (in the male), or fuscous (rather dark, iridescent, with a few purplish scales in the female); plain (save for the dark border), or conspicuously patterned (in that the female can exhibit an orange spot near the tornus). Uppersides of the hindwings eye-spotted (in the female), or not eye-spotted. The eye-spots 1; near the tornus (in the form of a small black spot partially and sometimes obscurely encircled with orange). Uppersides of the hindwings without a discal mark.

Undersides of wings. Undersides of the wings multiply patterned with pale-ringed black spots.

Undersides of the forewings ochreous-grey-whitish, with a white-ringed black discal mark and a postmedian series of white-ringed black spots.

Undersides of the hindwings ochreous-grey-whitish, with two anterior spots and a postmedian series of spots black with white rings; a double sub-terminal series of fuscous spots, these sometimes enclosing obsolete orange spots; and notable for two conspicuous orange spots below the middle, followed by black spots embellished with bluish-silvery specks; with 1–2 black dots within small orange spots near the tornus; with a conspicuous discal mark; very scarcely with silvery-metallic markings, or without metallic markings.

Wing venation. Forewings 11 veined. Forewings with 1 tubular anal vein; the anal veins of the forewings representing 1b only; vein 1b furcate proximally to simple. Forewing veins 7 missing, 8 and 9 stalked, 6 separate.

Hindwings 9 veined; without a praecostal spur; with 2 anal veins; exhibiting vein 1a; the anal veins comprising 1a and 1b. 7 veins arising from the hindwing cell. The cell-derived hindwing veins 3+4 proximally joined (connate only).

Eggs, larvae, pupae. Eggs discoid; finely, densely spinulose. The larvae woodlouse-shaped; associated with ants in the later instars. On legume leaves, flowers and pods, e.g. of Lotus corniculatus, and cannibalistc.

Pupae smooth and rounded; conspicuously patterned; exposed, with no coccoon; not suspended, but attached at the tail and secured by a median girdle of silk.

British representation. 1 species. Everes argiades (Short-tailed Blue). The adults abroad May, June, and August.

Status in Britain. Rare ocurrence representing occasional, genuine immigrants.

Distribution. Central southern England and southwest England. Frequenting open places. Habitats calcareous and non-calcareous.

Classification. Superfamily Papilionoidea. Lycaenidae.

Illustrations. • Everes argiades (Bloxworth or Short-tailed Blue). • Everes argiades (Bloxworth or Short-tailed Blue), Glaucopsyche alexis (Green-underside Blue): Kirby, 1907).

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2008 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: butterflies. Version: 16th May 2016.’.