Spanish Purple Hairstreak (Laeosopis roboris)

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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.

6101_male_Var_29May07 6258_female_Var_1Jun07 32566_female_Var_8Jun13
25926_male?_Var_25Jun11 37422_male_Var_1Jun15 37458_female_Var_1Jun15
35361_female_Var_11Jun14 35362_female_Var_11Jun14 25984_female?_Var_25Jun11

A rather localised species, basically Spanish (as you might expect) although its range extends eastwards into southern France, as is often the case with principally Iberian species. It is (allegedly, see later) only found near Ash trees (Fraxinus angustifolia) (the larval hostplant) and near water. It is not unlike the Purple Hairstreak (Favonius quercus) in that the female has less purple on the upperside than the male, and the female also has more prominent uph submarginal blue spots in s1-3. The female underside is also slightly more heavily marked. It (allegedly) tends to disappear into the higher branches by mid-afternoon, so the morning is the best time to look for it.

Until 2009 I had only found it at one site in Var where the flight period was end-May to mid-June although I found that most specimens were showing serious signs of wear by 7 June.

It was found there regularly every year although in limited numbers. However, in late June 2008 I visited a site I had visited frequently in early spring and found roboris present, nowhere near water and no obvious Ash trees in the vicinity. A similar visit in 2009 produced roboris in large numbers, where 50 or more could have been counted nectaring in the afternoon, and that may have only been the tip of the iceberg. In 2012 I found it at three more locations, so it may be more widespread than originally thought; it is somewhat sedentary and probably under-recorded.

 

This species was previously known as Laeosopis evippus.

 

A superb video of the life-cycle of roboris has been produced by Filming VarWild and can be viewed on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nm4bbW-kjXc&list=PLLIrjN9bA2GzCdEV0j2IFQU55FNxoJsGT

ref sex

observations

alt. m
6101 M

a male, with extensive purple patches on the upf. Its pose, at the edge of a bush and looking outwards, is typically territorial, ready to chase off any males that strayed into its territory.

200
6258 F

a female, with a limited basal blue-purple patch on the upf and only a few blue scales just visible on the uph. The uph marginal blue marks are quite large and extensive compared to the male in 6101, strangely given that the male has more extensive patches in the basal area.

200
32566 F a very fresh female, the blackness of the upperside ground colour sets off the blue scales very nicely. 30
25926 M? a male, perhaps, based on the end of the abdomen. It is nectaring on Rhus coraria, a species of Sumac tree which was being nectared by several species of hairstreak, almost to the exclusion of other nectar sources. 450
37422 M a male. 200
37458 F a female. 200
35361 F a female. 200
35362 F a female, egg-laying on a twig of Ash. 200
25984 F? a female, based on the end of the abdomen. It is difficult to get a shot at the right angle to the light to show the marginal marks of roboris to best effect. 450

 

6101_male_Var_29May07

 

6258_female_Var_1Jun07

 

32566_female_Var_8Jun13

 

25926_male?_Var_25Jun11

 

37422_male_Var_1Jun15

 

37458_female_Var_1Jun15

 

35361_female_Var_11Jun14

 

35362_female_Var_11Jun14

 

25984_female?_Var_25Jun11