Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Variations on a theme ...

Common Blue

The female Irish form of the Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus ssp. mariscolore), which also occurs in the north and west of Scotland (including the Orkneys and Hebrides), is typically extensively marked with blue on the upperside of both its fore and hindwings. In addition, the orange marginal spots are generally larger and brighter than those found on the, also slightly smaller, nominate subspecies.

I mentioned in my recent diary posts that many of the Common Blue females I found on the Isles of Scilly were strongly marked with blue; many to a point that some were almost touching on the blue colour intensity of the Irish subspecies. Although I have seen a small number of the brown form on the mainland this year most have been blue, though not as bright or as beautifully marked as a those observed on the Scillies. Female icarus can vary greatly in the amount of blue present; this is particularly noticeable geographically to the west and north of their range. There are also many named and unnamed aberrations of this beautiful butterfly. Pictured below: Common Blue (female), referable to ab. supra-caerulea, Oberthür (1896). St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, 26 August 2012 ...

The beauty of nature ...

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