Blue-spot Hairstreak (Satyrium spini)

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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.

21114_female_Var_28Jun10 10799_female_Var_23May08 10804_female_Var_23May08
 
33693_male_Var_12Jul13 37756_female?_Var_14Jun15  

Quite reclusive and often sedentary, so can often be missed. Until 2006 I had seen only single individuals at altitude locations (around 1000m or more) in the Vercors National Park, at the Col de Vars and in the Alpes-Maritimes. However, in June 2006 I found 50 or more at a lowland location in Var and since then in good numbers at other locations. Probably this is because I had not visited lowland areas of southern France in June before, and was only seeing the later emergence at altitude. It is superficially similar to the White-letter (S. w-album), the Ilex (S. ilicis) and the Sloe Hairstreaks (S. acaciae) but the strong straight white line and the blue spot near the base of the unh are unmistakable.

It is also appreciably larger and more triangular in shape, being a slightly greyer (as illustrated by 33693) and lighter ground colour than many of its Satyrium cousins. It also seems to me to be a neat and tidy butterfly.

 

The blue spot is not entirely blue - the close-ups show that it is around 70% blue scales on a black background. The close-ups of some of the w-album specimens also have small blue spots in the same place.

 
ref sex

observations

alt. m
21114 F

On studying the magnified image, the end of the foreleg appears to be articulated and identical to the mid-leg and hind-leg and not hooked, which confirms that this is a female.

450
10799 F

clearly a female, based on the visible body shape.

185
10804 F

I had labelled this a female, possibly based on behaviour I saw in the field, but looking only at the photograph, the sex is not clear.

185
33693 M a male, taking honeydew from a leaf, quite a greyish ground colour. 680
37756 F? this appears rather browner in colour than the norm, perhaps slightly accentuated by the poor light at the time. Possibly a female, based on what can be seen of the end of the foreleg. 560

 

21114_female_Var_28Jun10

 

10799_female_Var_23May08

 

10804_female_Var_23May08

 

33693_male_Var_12Jul13

 

37756_female?_Var_14Jun15