Chequered Blue (Scolitantides orion)
2023 photographs highlighted in green. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.
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.
a male with rather limited blue scales, in typical territorial pose.
|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.
|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.
|a female, also with quite extensive blue scaling.
|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.
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.
|a male with slightly heavy and suffused markings, in typical male territorial pose.
|a female, illustrating slightly yellowish tinge to the underside ground colour.
|a female, based on the heavier and slightly more suffused markings, plus perhaps the rather more rounded wing shape.
|a female from the eastern Pyrénées, with a rather browner ground colour than examples from more easterly locations.
|a mating pair, the rather larger female on the left.