Meleager's Blue (Polyommatus daphnis)

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2018 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 44670_female_Alpes-Maritimes_19Jul17 - form steeveni 26200_male_Alpes-Maritimes_02Jul11
17188_male_Alpes-Maritimes_04Jul09 44644_male_Alpes-Maritimes_19Jul17 44667_female_Alpes-Maritimes_19Jul17
   
3263_female_Alpes-Maritimes_27Jul06 - 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 a 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 not every year, as it tends to emerge in mid-July and my trips to its localities have often been earlier than that. In 2014 and 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.

ref sex

observations

alt. m
26188 M a male upperside, showing the rather pale blue colouration and the dark border of the upf. 26200 is the underside. 810
3624 F

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.

1000
3256 F

a female, a fairly standard example of the form steeveni, being quite a dull dark brown with scarcely a hint of blue scales.

1000
02_58-18 F

a female of the form steeveni, quite fresh and cleanly marked, with only a limited spattering of blue scales in the basal region.

1000
44670 F a glimpse of the upperside of this female of the form steeveni, as daphnis usually settles with closed wings. It is completely brown with a smattering of blue scales in the basal region. 44667 is the underside. 1000
26200 M a rather pale, ghosted, male underside. 26188 is the upperside. 810
17188 M

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.

1000
44644 M a fresh male, very typical in terms of colouring (contrast with 17188) and with very pronounced marginal marks. 1000
44667 F a female underside. 44670 is the upperside. 1000
3263 F

rather worn, but a typical female underside, quite dark compared with 02_75-36 below. The underside of 3256.

1000

 

26188_male_Alpes-Maritimes_02Jul11

 

3624_female_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_13Aug06

 

3256_female_Alpes-Maritimes_27Jul06

 

44670_female_Alpes-Maritimes_19Jul17

 

26200_male_Alpes-Maritimes_02Jul11

 

17188_male_Alpes-Maritimes_04Jul09

 

44644_male_Alpes-Maritimes_19Jul17

 

44667_female_Alpes-Maritimes_19Jul17

 

3263_female_Alpes-Maritimes_27Jul06