Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Shades of blue ...

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)

P. icarus, as its vernacular name suggests, is the commonest member of the Polyommatinae found in the British Isles. While the male has bright blue uppersides, the female is primarily brown, with an extremely variable amount of blue. This can be noted even within the same seasonal population. This is the most widespread Lycaenid found in the British Isles and can be found almost anywhere, including Orkney. It is currently absent from Shetland and the mountainous areas of Wales and Scotland. P. icarus forms reasonably discrete colonies measured in tens or hundreds, with individuals occasionally wandering some distance.

P. icarus has two broods in the southern counties of England and one brood further north. Occasionally, in favourable seasons, there may be a third brood. Time of emergence is highly variable. In good years, adults may be seen as early as the middle of May on more southerly sites. These peak at the end of May or early June, giving rise to a second generation that emerges in the second half of July, peaking in the middle of August. Colonies in northern England and Scotland typically have a single brood that emerges in June, reaching its peak in July.

The two images depict the same female from earlier today …

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