Iolas Blue (Iolana iolas)

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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.

29333_male_Var_17May12 32443_female_Var_21May13 40610_female_Var_16May16
29120_male_Var_7May12 29340_male_Var_17May12 32344_female_Var_21May13
37055_female_Var_29Apr15 32397_pair_Var_21May13 29152_larval hostplant_Var_7May12

Iolas is an exceptionally large blue, the largest in Europe, being rather larger than the Phengaris (previously Maculinea) species. It is also exceptionally scarce and probably in decline. It occurs in two or three known locations in Var (maybe more sites are yet to be discovered) although more widespread in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, and is very much tied to the larval hostplant Bladder Senna (Colutea arborescens). The male upperside is a clear bright blue and the female blue with wide dark borders.

The flight period is said to be mid-May (there is a suggestion of a possible second brood), although the first male I saw in 2011 was looking rather worn on 20 May. It occurs in very low densities, usually only ones and twos, but it has a very powerful soaring flight and is apparently capable of wandering long distances from the Colutea.

A superb video of the life-cycle of iolas has been produced by Filming VarWild and can be viewed on YouTube here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=62mGXCiQNfM

ref

sex

observations

alt. m

29333

M

a male, showing the clear blue colour.

480

32443 F a female upperside, showing the thick black borders that differentiate it from the male. 370
40610 F a female, resting in between bouts of egg-laying. 370

29120

M

a male, showing quite well-developed marginal markings.

480

29340

M

a male, nectaring on the Colutea - note the proboscis enters at the base of the flower.

370

32344 F a female underside, soon after emergence. It is not the same individual as in 32397. 370
37055 F a female, rather bluish in ground colour than other females I have seen. 370
32397 PAIR a mating pair, the female on the right, virtually pristine as it is soon after emergence. 370

29152

 

Colutea arborescens, the larval hostplant.

370

 

29333_male_Var_17May12

 

32443_female_Var_21May13

 

40610_female_Var_16May16

 

29120_male_Var_7May12

 

29340_male_Var_17May12

 

32344_female_Var_21May13

 

37055_female_Var_29Apr15

 

32397_pair_Var_21May13

 

29152_larval hostplant_Var_7May12