Scarce Large Blue (Phengaris teleius)

next page           back to list

2023 photographs highlighted in green. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

44940_male_Isère_27Jul17 44893_male_Isère_27Jul17 44988_male_Isère_27Jul17


50136_male_Isère_23Jul22 50142_female_Isère_23Jul22    

This is a beautifully marked butterfly. The male upperside is bright blue with the typical Phengaris black forewing splash marks (but not always - see 44940 below). The underside is typical Phengaris, but with a very clean ground colour and neat black marks. It  is nearly always found perched on its larval hostplant Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis), or very close by.


Prior to 2016 I had only ever seen singles at three sites, in fields of Sanguisorba, which is a plant of marshy terrain, so it is quite difficult to get close enough to photograph and I was very fortunate that 12909 came close enough to the boardwalk through the marsh that I could get a half-decent photograph of this beautifully fresh specimen.

The location I visited in 2016 had only sparse Sanguisorba in a marshy field, although I was informed by a local expert that even at low densities this plant can support small colonies. I revisited this site on 27 July 2017 and in subsequent years when teleius was flying in good numbers, sharing this location with the Dusky Large Blue (P. nausithous).


In the Lafranchis ID book, it says that the teleius post-discal forewing spot in s2 (the lowest large spot just visible on the unf), is equidistant from the discal spot and the submarginal spot; this is certainly true for 12909.


This species was previously known as Maculinea teleius.

ref sex


alt. m
44940 M a rare opportunity to get a photo of an upperside, albeit at a distance. This individual is highly unusual in that there are no discal marks on the upperside. Whether other or all males at this location were similar is impossible to say, as this was the only upperside view that we had. 340
44893 M a rather silvery male with a slight deformity to the forewing. 340
44988 M a beautifully fresh male, rather silvery round colour, and adopting the same pose as 12909. 340
12909 M

a male, I'm reasonably confident, because I saw it in flight and it looked a very bright blue.

50136 M a male, quite large unh spots, and rather less silvery than usual. 340
50142 F a female, the only image I have that is clearly female. It is rather browner than the males, and has black markings in the basal region. Given that it was photographed on the same day as 50136, it is showing a surprising degree of wear, whereas the males all appeared relatively fresh. 340