Paphos Blue Butterfly - Glaucopsyche paphos

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Lepidoptera - Family: Lycaenidae

Paphosl Blue butterfly, wings closed

The Paphos Blue is endemic to Cyprus, where it is known to be widespread (recorded from coastal areas right up to mountainous terrain some 1400m above sea level). The population of Paphos Blue is reported to be relatively high, and so these lovely butterflies are not uncommon sights on the island. The specimens pictured on the left and below were photographed by Simon Harding, with whose kind permission they are shown here.

Paphosl Blue butterfly, male, Cyprus

The Paphos Blue is one of three butterflies endemic to (found only on) the island of Cyprus. The other two are Maniola cypricola and the Hipparchia cypriensis.

Description

The butterflies shown here are males, which have a bright blue upperside with a blackish band around the margin. The underside is greyish and, in common with other members of the genus Glaucopsyche, the post-discal area of the forewing is distinguished by large black spots ringed in white.

The wings of the female Paphos Blue are various shades of greyish brown with a hint of blue towards the margins.

Paphos Blue butterfly, male, upperwings

Distribution (found only on Cyprus)

Michael Foley, in his blog about butterflies in Cyprus, reports that the Paphos Blue tends to be concentrated in the west and south of the island on the warm chalky garrigue.

Lifecycle

The larval foodplants of the Paphos Blue are various Genista (broom) species, which are members of the botanical family Fabaceae (relatives of peas, vetches and clovers, therefore); however, the brooms found on Cyprus are all bushes and tend to be spiny perennials.

This is a univoltine species (with just one generation per year) but its emergence period is relatively long, so that adults are seen on the wing from February to June.

The butterfly shown above, phpotographed on Cyprus by Simon Harding, was a 'long shot' and consequently its underwings were not clearly seen, but its possible that this is a (male) Paphos Blue.

Reference Sources

Information on this page has been checked against many sources including:

The butterflies of Cyprus. Christodoulos Makris (2002). ISBN-13: 978-9963428175

Note: This species is not covered in the Collins Butterfly Guide (2009) by Tom Tolman and Richard Lewington.

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