Scientific name: Polyommatus bellargus
Males have beautiful, brilliant sky-blue wings, while the females are brown. A characteristic butterfly of unimproved chalk downland in southern England.
This beautiful butterfly is one of the most characteristic species of southern chalk downland, where it flies low over shortly grazed turf.
The males have brilliant sky-blue wings, while the females are brown and far less conspicuous. Both sexes have distinctive black lines that enter or cross the white fringes to the wings. Despite its restricted distribution, the butterfly can be seen in many hundreds on good sites.
It has undergone a major decline through its entire range, but has recently re-expanded in some regions.
Size and Family
- Family: Blues
- Size: Small/Medium
- Wing Span Range (male to female): 38mm
- UK BAP: Not listed (formerly Priority)
- Butterfly Conservation priority: Medium
- European status: Not threatened
- Protected under Schedule 5 of the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act (for sale only)
The sole foodplant is Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa).
- Countries: England
- Restricted to southern England, but not in the far south-west
- Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = -19%
Dry chalk or limestone grassland with abundant foodplants in short turf, but slightly taller vegetation may be used in sheltered quarries. Most colonies occur on warm, south-facing slopes where favoured breeding areas are sheltered hollows (especially old chalk pits and quarries).