Chequered Blue (Scolitantides orion)

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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.

10410_male_Alpes-Maritimes_9May08 31948_male_Var_2May13 37017_male_Var_29Apr15
24529_female_Var_05May11 29009_female_Var_1May12 28936_male_Var_1May12
6690_male_Alpes-Maritimes_8Jun07 24542_female_Var_05May11 28973_female_Var_1May12
   
37041_pair_Var_29Apr15    

A rather untypical blue, unlike any other found in France - a rather dull upperside, lacking the usual resplendence of male blues, but having a very bright and distinctive underside. The female is similar but usually black-brown with only a sprinkling of blue scales, although some females can be quite blue and some males less blue so that there is an area of cross-over.

 

The male underside ground colour generally seems to a pure-ish white whereas the female seems to have a slight yellowish tinge. I am not sure how consistent this is, though.

It cannot be mistaken for any other species in France, where it occurs locally in the south-eastern quarter of the country. I had not seen it until 2005, but it was reasonably common in this semi-Alpine location at 1000m altitude. In 2011 I was shown another site, this time in Var and at a much lower altitude, where it was present in good numbers.

 

It is a quite localised butterfly of southern Europe, univoltine and with a quite early flight season. However, I have seen it in early July in the same location as others on this page and, in view of its freshness, it appears to be a second generation.

ref sex

observations

alt. m
10410 M

a male with rather limited blue scales, in typical territorial pose.

1000
31948 M a male, with rather more blue scales than the norm. The curvature of what is visible of the body shape may suggest female, but this is deceptive. 210
24529 F a female with quite extensive blue scales, illustrating the point above about the unreliability in identifying the sexes purely on the basis of the degree of blue scaling. 210
29009 F a female, also with quite extensive blue scaling. 210
28936 M probably a male, based on the neatness of the underside markings where the female markings are often larger and slightly less distinct. On studying the magnified image, the end of the foreleg appears to be hooked, which confirms that this is a male. 210
6690 M

this male has a quite cleanly marked underside, for a species that often appears smudgy even when in focus. The underside cannot be confused with any other species in France.

1000
24542 F a female, illustrating slightly yellowish tinge to the underside ground colour. 210
28973 F a female, based on the heavier and slightly more suffused markings, plus perhaps the rather more rounded wing shape. 210
37041 PAIR a mating pair, the rather larger female on the left.  

 

10410_male_Alpes-Maritimes_9May08

 

31948_male_Var_2May13

 

37017_male_Var_29Apr15

 

24529_female_Var_05May11

 

29009_female_Var_1May12

 

28936_male_Var_1May12

 

6690_male_Alpes-Maritimes_8Jun07

 

24542_female_Var_05May11

 

28973_female_Var_1May12

 

37041_pair_Var_29Apr15