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Reddish Vale Country Park

Common Blue Butterfly

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Reddish Vale Country Park

Britain's (and probably Europe's) most common and most widespread blue, found as far north as Orkney and on most of the Outer Hebrides. Males are often very obvious as they defend territories against rivals and search out the more reclusive females. A range of grassland habitats are used: meadows, coastal dunes, woodland clearings and also many man made habitats, anywhere where their food plants are found.

 

The male of this blue butterfly, has bright violet-blue undersides, the female is largely brown, with orange marginal spots and scattered blue scales near the wing bases. Some females are largely blue with broad brown margins. Both sexes have plain white fringes. The undersides are grey or brown with numerous white-ringed black spots and orange marginal spots.

 

The caterpillar is small, pale green with yellow stripes and as usual with lycid larvae rather slug-like. Hibernation occurs as a half grown larvae. They are attractive to ants but not as much as some other species of blues. The chrysalis is olive green/brown and formed on the ground where it is attended by ants which will often take it into their nests. The larvae creates a substance called honey dew, which the ants eat while the butterfly lives in the ant hill. In the south of Britain there are two broods a year flying in May and June and again in August and September. Northern England has one brood flying between June and September. In a long warm year there is sometimes a partial third brood in the south.

 

Flies May to October over all types of grassland.

The common blues favorite food plant is bird's-foot trefoil.

Common Blue

Butterfly