Chequered Blue Butterfly - Scolitantides orion

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

Chequered Blue Butterfly - Scolitantides orion
Pictures: Rob Petley-Jones

The Chequered Blue is quite ba brare find in most countries of central and soputhern Europe, as it tends to b3e very localised rather than widespread. It favours hot dry areas, often south-facing rocky slopes, wher it basks in the sunshine either ob flowers or on road or track surfaces. At the northern limit of its range, they are sometimes extremely dark with very little blue in their upperwings, whereas further south they are much bluer.

Male Lorquin's Blue butterfly

The uppersides of the wings have strongly chequered fringes - hence the common name. The underside is whitish with bold black spots; there is a continuous orange band on the hindwing (not very obvious in the aged specimen shown here).

Distribution

Not known to occur in Britain, the Chequered Blue is found in many countries of mainland Europe including Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy and Greece; it is also recorded in the Balkans, Russia and southern Scandinavia.

The wingspan of the Chequered Blue butterfly varies between 2.6cm and 3.4cm.

Lifecycle

The larval foodplants used by the Chequered Blue are various stonecrops (Sedum species). The adults take nectar from flowers including Thymus and Lavendula species.

A single brood is produced, with the adults flying between April and July, depending mainly on altitude. The caterpillars are tended by ants.

This is one of the many 'blues' that overwinter in the pupal stage.

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