Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus)
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2017 photographs highlighted in yellow. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.
Boeticus is a migratory species and seems to be quite widespread, although before 2012 I had never seen more than one specimen in any given place. It could be confused with the Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous) on the basis of the underside patterning, but boeticus is generally much larger and more triangular, and the continuous post-discal unh white band is definitive. The marginal markings in s1 and s2 (more so in s2) are beautifully edged in silver scales and internally edged in orange.
It can use a variety of different plants of the Fabaceae (Pea) genus as larval hostplants, possibly the most frequent being Bladder Senna (Colutea arborescens) but the ones I saw in 2012 were using Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea (Lathyrus latifolius) (31567)
It seemed to be more numerous in 2009, turning up in several localities, and this impression was reinforced by other observers. Maybe 2009, the year of the Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) migration, was a good year for migrants generally. I subsequently saw only one in 2010 and none in 2011, but in September 2012 I saw several in three different coastal locations. This seems to have been the pattern in other locations, so clearly 2012 was a good year for boeticus.
In 2015 and subsequent years, I encountered this species in numerous locations, so perhaps it is becoming more common, maybe just spreading northward.
|31562||M||a male upperside, something I rarely see, given the relative scarcity of boeticus and the fact that it usually settles with closed wings, hence this rather poor photograph. 31558 is the underside.||20|
|44174||M||at last, an opportunity for a half-decent photograph of a male, taken at the edge of a lake in Aude, south-western France. There were a group of three males puddling together. 44186 is the underside.||370|
|39242||F||a female upperside, as rarely seen as the male upperside in my experience. 39245 is the underside.||640|
|44186||M||a male, the underside of 44174.||370|
|31558||M||a male, the underside of 31562.||20|
I am assuming that this is a male, despite my doubts about the quite strongly brown colouring, and to some extent the wing shape, both of which suggest female. Maybe it is a female just taking moisture, as other species - clearly females - were doing at this same location.
|31596||F||a female, which I only know for certain as I saw it in flight, the females having very few blue scales. The undersides of the male and female seem indistinguishable.||0|
|39245||F||a female, the underside of 39242.||640|
|31567||The larval hostplant being used by the females seen in 2012, Lathyrus latifolius||20|