Silvery Argus (Aricia nicias)

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2016 photographs highlighted in green. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

17517_male_Hautes-Alpes_08Jul09 22530_male_Isère_17Jul10 36157_male_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul14
22064_female_Hautes-Alpes_13Jul10 36180_male_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul14 22801_male_Isère_19Jul10
22810_male_Isère_19Jul10 22825_male_Isère_19Jul10 17414_male_Hautes-Alpes_07Jul09
41765_male_Savoie_20Jul16 41445_pair_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul16 22060_female_Hautes-Alpes_13Jul10

An exquisite little butterfly of the mountains. The upperside colour is often shown as a pale dullish silvery blue with narrow darker borders in most books, but I have generally found it to be rather bluer and with very broad almost-black borders. Before 2006 I had only seen it once at the Col de Vars, but in 2006 I found it in good numbers (ten or more) in two or three Alpine locations, and again in 2007. I only fleetingly saw one in Switzerland in 2008, but in 2009 it was at several locations in France and in 2010 it was frequently encountered, sometimes in good numbers.

The female is plain brown and like many mountain blue females, quite reclusive, and I had only seen one before 2016, in 2010. The underside is very pale and delicate, with a characteristic white stripe and often almost yellow around the unh lunules, and quite variable.

 

This species was previously known as Pseudoaricia nicias.

 
ref sex

observations

alt. m
17517 M

a male, puddling. I have only seen it nectaring on one occasion, other than when it is puddling.

2000
22530 M

a male, a typical male upperside, almost identical to 17517.

1120
36157 M a male, rather bluer than the norm and perhaps with slightly narrower black borders. 36180 is the underside. 2020
22064 F

a female upperside, identifiable with confidence as it was the underside of 22060.

1800
36180 M a male, the underside of 36157. A relatively dull and unmarked underside. 2020
22801 M

a male, quite a strong grey ground colour. The marginal markings are almost non-existent.

1120
22810 M

a male, quite brownish in ground colour, with very vestigial markings generally. An interesting pose, resting on this low grass shoot rather than on the ground.

1120
22825 M

a male, also very pale. This seemed to be a characteristic of this relatively (for nicias) low-altitude location.

1120
17414 M

a male underside, showing the delicate colouring and markings. Quite typical for nicias, the other undersides on this page being the less usual ones.

2000
41765 M in contrast with 41592, this specimen has almost a two-tone hindwing and very colourful marginal markings. 1930
41445 PAIR a rare sight of a female, in an even rarer sight of a mating pair, contrasting the male below with the browner ground colour of the female above. 1960
22060 F

a female, quite a strong brown showing up the white stripe clearly, and with quite small spots.

1800

 

17517_male_Hautes-Alpes_08Jul09

 

22530_male_Isère_17Jul10

 

36157_male_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul14

 

22064_female_Hautes-Alpes_13Jul10

 

36180_male_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul14

 

22801_male_Isère_19Jul10

 

22810_male_Isère_19Jul10

 

22825_male_Isère_19Jul10

 

17414_male_Hautes-Alpes_07Jul09

 

41765_male_Savoie_20Jul16

 

41445_pair_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul16

 

22060_female_Hautes-Alpes_13Jul10