Meleager's Blue (Polyommatus daphnis)
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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.
|26188_male_Alpes-Maritimes_02Jul11||3624_female_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_13Aug06||3256_female_Alpes-Maritimes_27Jul06 - form steeveni|
|02_58-18_female_Alpes-Maritimes_Jun02 - form steeveni||26200_male_Alpes-Maritimes_02Jul11||17188_male_Alpes-Maritimes_04Jul09|
|03_67-33_male_Alpes-Maritimes_Jun03||3263_female_Alpes-Maritimes_27Jul06 - form steeveni||02_75-36_female_Alpes-Maritimes_Jun02 - form steeveni|
The scalloping of the hindwing, much more pronounced in the female, makes this species unmistakable. Daphnis seems to be a butterfly of medium altitudes, usually around 500-1000m and sometimes above (I saw it in 2011 at 1800m flying in company with the Glandon Blue (Plebejus glandon) - not a frequent sight!) . The nominate form of the female is basically blue over most of the uph and about half of the upf. The female also occurs in a brown form, steeveni, which seems to me to be more common as I have only seen the blue nominate form on one occasion.
The male underside has very faint marginal marks and the scalloping is much less apparent when it is settled with closed wings. I usually see a few daphnis every year, but for some reason did not see any in 2008 or 2010 or 2013, and only one in 2009. It did appear in several locations in 2011, though. In 2014 and in 2015, several were seen at a location where it had not been seen for several years, so it appears to survive at low densities.
This species was previously known as Meleageria daphnis.
|26188||M||a male upperside, showing the rather pale blue colouration and the dark border of the upf. 26200 is the underside.||810|
a typical, albeit worn, female of the nominate form, judging by the illustration in T&L, although the upf blue is less extensive than shown there. But this is the only non-steeveni I have seen, so cannot make too many assumptions based on such limited experience.
a female, a fairly standard example of the form steeveni, being quite a dull dark brown with scarcely a hint of blue scales.
a female of the form steeveni, quite fresh and cleanly marked, with only a limited spattering of blue scales in the basal region.
|26200||M||a rather pale, ghosted, male underside. 26188 is the upperside.||810|
a underside, rather a brown ground colour. If it were not for the difference in the degree of scalloping between the sexes, the unusually brown ground colour might be taken to indicate female.
a male, an unusually pale grey "ghosted" underside, but quite attractive nonetheless.
rather worn, but a typical female underside, quite dark compared with 02_75-36 below. The underside of 3256.
a delicately marked female, the underside of 02_58-18.