Meleager's Blue (Polyommatus daphnis)

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2021 photographs highlighted in yellow. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

26188_male_Alpes-Maritimes_02Jul11 47448_male_Alpes-Maritimes_18Jul20 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


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
47448 M another male, almost identical to 26188, indicating that there is very little variation in the male upperside. 1000
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.