Damon Blue (Polyommatus damon)  

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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.

17648_male_Hautes-Alpes_09Jul09 22199_male_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul10 41554_male_Hautes-Alpes_15Jul16
3668_female_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_13Aug06 22876_female_Valais, Switzerland_22Jul10 41869_male_Savoie_23Jul16
21970_male_Hautes-Alpes_11Jul10 17862_male_Isère_11Jul09 22584_male_Isère_17Jul10
 
31348_male_Savoie_20Jul12 3707_female_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_13Aug06  

I first saw a single male in the Queyras National Park in 2000, and then another at Isola in 2002. However, in 2003 at the Col de Lauteret near Briançon I saw another, then another and then realised that they could be counted in hundreds if not thousands. I have since seen damon in huge numbers at several high altitude locations. Both sexes have the very strong white unh streak which is characteristic of this species and it could only be confused (in France) with the Ripart's Anomalous Blue (P. ripartii). The undersides are very similar, the unh of ripartii having heavier and more extensive black spots, extending into s1 and s2, but the main and probably constant differentiating factor seems to be that the margins of damon are white, but brown for ripartii. The underside of the female Furry Blue (P. dolus) of the subspecies vittatus is very similar but paler in colour. The few dolus I have seen have been of the nominate form not vittatus, so my experience is limited here.

Damon is slightly unusual in that the underside ground colour is often brown in the male as well as the female, whereas for most blues the male is grey (or greyer) than the usually-brown female. However, as shown above, the male upperside is strongly blue and the female brown. The male upperside could possibly be confused with the Amanda's Blue (P. amandus) in terms of the dark borders, although damon is rather darker and smaller than amandus and the undersides are completely different.

 

This species was previously known as Agrodiaetus damon.

 

 
ref sex

observations

alt. m
17648 M

showing the characteristic dark borders which extend along the uph veins.

2100
22199 M

a typical male.

2020
41554 M a male, taking salts. A slightly paler blue than the norm. 2020
3668 F

a typical female, plain brown and unmarked, with bluish suffusion on the thorax hairs and in the basal region.

1800
22876 F

a rather worn female, showing a smattering of basal blue scales. It is on the larval hostplant Sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia).

2150
41869 M a male underside, rather greyer and a less warm brown than the norm. 2070
21970 M

a male, a fairly normal colouring in that the unf ground colour is rather greyish compared to the unh.

2050
17862 M

a male, quite deep rich chestnut brown. Whether this is a geographical or an altitude effect of both 17862 and 22584, given that they were both seen in Isère and at very low altitudes for this species, is unclear. The colouring is certainly unusual. I am assuming that the fact that they are (or appear to be) taking salts indicates that both are males, but it is possible that they are females just taking moisture.

1120
22584 M

a male, a lighter brown than 17862.

1120
31348 M quite decidedly greyish compared to others on this page, but probably closer to the norm for damon. 2070
3707 F

a typical female underside, quite a strong clean brown on both wings.

2000

 

17648_male_Hautes-Alpes_09Jul09

 

22199_male_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul10

 

41554_male_Hautes-Alpes_15Jul16

 

3668_female_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_13Aug06

 

22876_female_Valais, Switzerland_22Jul10

 

41869_male_Savoie_23Jul16

 

21970_male_Hautes-Alpes_11Jul10

 

17862_male_Isère_11Jul09

 

22584_male_Isère_17Jul10

 

31348_male_Savoie_20Jul12

 

3707_female_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_13Aug06