Scarce Large Blue (Phengaris teleius)

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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.

44940_male_Isère_27Jul17 44893_male_Isère_27Jul17 44988_male_Isère_27Jul17

 

12909_male_Ain_14Jul08

41720_male?_Isère_19Jul16  

This is a beautifully marked butterfly. The male upperside is bright blue with the typical Phengaris black forewing splash marks (but not always - see 44940 below). The underside is typical Phengaris, but with a very clean ground colour and neat black marks. It  is nearly always found perched on its larval hostplant Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis), or very close by. I've only ever seen singles at three sites, in fields of Sanguisorba, which is a plant of marshy terrain, so it is quite difficult to get close enough to photograph and I was very fortunate that 12909 came close enough to the boardwalk through the marsh that I could get a half-decent photograph of this beautifully fresh specimen.

The location I visited in 2016 had only sparse Sanguisorba in a marshy field, although I was informed by a local expert that even at low densities this plant can support small colonies. I revisited this site on 27 July 2017 when teleius was flying in good numbers, sharing this location with the Dusky Large Blue (P. nausithous).

 

In the Lafranchis ID book, it says that the teleius post-discal forewing spot in s2 (the lowest large spot just visible on the unf), is equidistant from the discal spot and the submarginal spot; this is certainly true for 12909.

 

This species was previously known as Maculinea teleius.

ref sex

observations

alt. m
44940 M a rare opportunity to get a photo of an upperside, albeit at a distance. This individual is highly unusual in that there are no discal marks on the upperside. Whether other or all males at this location were similar is impossible to say, as this was the only upperside view that we had. 340
44893 M a rather silvery male with a slight deformity to the forewing. 340
44988 M a beautifully fresh male, rather silvery round colour, and adopting the same pose as 12909. 340
12909 M

a male, I'm reasonably confident, because I saw it in flight and it looked a very bright blue.

235
41720 M? only the second teleius I have seen and I believe it is a male from the end of the abdomen, despite the rather pronounced body width. It is, as is usual for this species (despite 12909 above), sitting on the head of a Burnet. 340

 

44940_male_Isère_27Jul17

 

44893_male_Isère_27Jul17

 

44988_male_Isère_27Jul17

 

12909_male_Ain_14Jul08

 

41720_male?_Isère_19Jul16