Adonis Blue Butterfly Lysandra Bellargus
The Adonis Blue butterfly is a British butterfly. This family of blue butterflies can be quite difficult to identify as they can look quite similar. Nowadays with man’s land use, the environment has changed too much – there are too few species to even be seen at all. However, I have seen a holly blue butterfly fluttering around the ivy Hedera in my garden.
The gorgeous Adonis blue butterfly males have iridescent blue top wings with black and fluffy white edge margins. The drab females are chocolate brown coloured with some orange spots.
Both the chalkhill blue butterfly and the adonis blue butterfly caterpillars feed upon the downland horseshoe vetch. Indeed you may see these blue butterflies resting on knapweed flowers on a summer’s day. I have fairly recently seen downland blue butterflies on vetch as I walked from Folkington to Wilmington in East Sussex. They are small and flit about like fairies but are always the most gorgeous blue coloured butterflies with iridescent cyans, cobalt and cerulean blues hues.
Unfortunately, the Adonis blue butterfly is now rare. It relies on warm, chalky south-facing slopes to thrive. Rabbits are needed to graze the slopes. These grazed slopes enable the ants to flourish that tend the Adonis blue butterfly’s larvae and pupae. The ants keep the larva for three weeks in underground ant chambers. The ants protect the pupae from enemies such as predators and enemies. In return for this protection, the larva has a special gland called a Newcomer’s gland on its seventh segment which provides a special secretion gift that the ant utilises. This is a butterfly and ant symbiotic relationship and they both need each other. So, like all ecological interactions, there are habitats with different organisms fulfilling important niches and roles.
Other British blue butterfly species include:
- chalkhill blue Cupido minimus
- common blue polyommatus icarus (perhaps there is a connection to Icarus in Greek mythology)
- holly blue celastrina argiolus
- small blue cupido minumus
- silver-studded blue butterfly plebejus argus (magnificent and now very rare)
My watercolour paintings is of the beautiful adonis blue butterfly Lysandra bellargus.
As always I use Windsor and Newton Artist quality paints to ensure that I get the beautiful translucent colours of nature and a good quality watercolour paper such as Arches. Sable watercolour brushes always give the best results since they are natural, form a fine point and hold much paint.
If you would like to purchase this signed limited edition print please visit Adonis blue butterfly artwork.