Small Blue

 

    Small Blue    

         (Cupido minimus)

 

 

 

 

 


 

Wingspan: 22 - 28mm

Description

The Small Blue is our smallest butterfly. The silvery-grey underwings are scattered with small black dots with no orange markings , the un-patterned upperwings are Smokey-black on the male and dark brown on the female.

Your photographs

Flight Period
Mid May – end June    occasional second brood mid to late August

Larval Food plants
Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis Vulneraria)
 
Habitat Requirements
Chalk Downland
Chalk pits
Embankments
 

Wiltshire Status

Resident
Scarce to frequent but local.

Wiltshire Sites

Salisbury Plain
Bratton Castle
Boscombe Down
Haddon Hill
Park Bottom
Cotley Hill
 

Earliest sightings 

Earliest county record
24th April 2011;  Park Bottom, Gordon Mackie, Chris Riley

 

Early Sightings
2013      
2012 30th April Whitesheet Hill Quarry Michael Plaxton
2011 24th April Park Bottom, Sherrington Gordon  Mackie, Chris Riley
2010 7th May Park Bottom, Sherrington Gordon Mackie
2009 10th May Cotley Hill, Heytesbury John Hutton
2008 10th May Cotley Hill, Heytesbury Nick Wynn
2007 25th April Maddington Down Steve Button

    

Latest county record
27th September 1999

Silver-studded Blue

Silver-studded Blue

(Plebejus argus)

 
 

 

 

 

 

Description
Wingspan: 29-31mm

This is the smallest of the bright blue butterflies and one of the most attractive. The underwings are silvery with the distintive orange band on the hindwing. Bordering this band is a row of black spots which contain the blue studs the give the butterfly its name. The upperside of the maleis a deep blue bordered with black which is fringed with white. The female upperwings resemble those of a Brown Argus, whilst her underwings are noticeably browner than that of the males.

Flight Period
Late June to Early August

Larval Food Plants
In Wiltshire the only colonies are on heathland and in this habitat  the caterpillar's foodplants are :-

Heather (Calluna vulgaris)
Cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix)
Bell Heather (Erica cinerea)

Habitat Requirements
Heathland, a rare habitat in Wiltshire with a few fragments in the far south east corner.

Wilshire Status
Resident, rare and extremely local.

Wiltshire Sites
Lanford Common
Pound Bottom

Early Sightings

Earliest county record

5th June 1893

 

Early Sightings
2013 6th July Landford Bog WWT reserve Bob Spedding
2012 1st July Langford Bog, WWT Reserve Gordon Mackie, Peter Shallcross
2011 26th June Langford Bog, WWT Reserve Gordon Mackie, Peter Shallcross
2010 19th June Hamptworth Estate Steve Button
2009 24th June Hamptworth Estate Gordon  Mackie
2008 23rd July Pound Bottom Arthur Bryant
2007   No Records  

Latest county record
28th August 1981
 

 

Brown Argus

 

Brown Argus     

(Arica agestis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

Wingspan: 29mm
 

Description
The only member of the blue family which lacks any blue colouration. The upper wings are a uniform rich brown with clearly defined orange lunules, the upperwings are also edge with a narrow but bright white fringe. Care must be taken to separate this species (both sexes) from female Common Blue.

Your photographs
 

Brown Argus (Male) Brown Argus (Female) Common Blue (Female)
Smaller than the Common Blue    
More extensive Orange Lunules Much More extensive Orange Lunules Orange Lunules do not reach costa of the forewing
White Fringe Brighter White Fringe Brighter White Fringe Duller
No Blue  No Blue Variable amount of Blue
Prominent dark spot on upperwings Prominent dark spot on upperwings No dark spot on upperwings
No spot on underside forewing that is nearer than halfway to the body No spot on underside forewing that is nearer than halfway to the body Additional spot underside of forewing
The two spots on the upper edge of the underside of the forewing are close together and resemble a number eight The two spots on the upper edge of the underside of the forewing are close together and resemble a number eight The corrosponding two spots on the female Common Blue are not so close together to form a figure eight


 

Flight Period
Double brooded                  May – June & August - September
 

Larval Food plants

Common Rock Rose       (Helianthemum nummularium)
Common Stork’s-bill        (Erodium cicutarium)
Dove’s-foot  Crane’s-bill  (Geranium molle)
 

Habitat Requirements

Chalk and Limestone Grassland
 

Wiltshire Status
Resident
Frequent, local, widespread

Wiltshire Sites

Pewsey Down
Somerford  Common
Salibury Plain
Grovely Wood
Barbury Castle

Earliest sightings 

Earliest county record
15th April 2007, Pewsey Down, Ray Jenkins & Patricia Froud

 

Early Sightings
2013      
2012 30th April Whitesheet Hill Quarry Michael Plaxton
2011 19th April Cotley Hill, Heytesbury Steve Button
2010 10th May West Yatton Down Mike Dimery
2010 10th May Cotley Hill, Heytesbury Steve Button
2009 1st May Grovely Wood Gordon  Mackie
2008 7th May West Yatton Down Maurice Avent
2007 15th April Pewsey Down Ray Jenkins & Patricia Froud

Latest Sighting
16th October 2003

Common Blue

      Common  Blue 

              (Polyommatus icarus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

Wingspan: 35mm
 

Description
The male Common Blue has un-marked violet-blue upperwings, edged with a fine black line which is bordered with a clear (no vein marks) white margin. The female upperwings are brown with orange lunules at the edge, The amount of orange is less extensive that on a Brown Argus. The female can sometimes show a variable amount of blue on their upperwings. The underwing is similar to that of the Brown Argus but can be distinguished from it by the additional spot close to the middle of the forewing.

Your photographs

 

Flight Period

Double Brooded:                 May – June  and August -September

 

Larval Food plants

Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil              (Lotus corniculatus)
Greater Bird’s-foot Trefoil                  (Lotus pedunculatus)
Black Medick                                        (Medicago lupulina)
Common Restharrow                        (Ononis repens)
Lesser Trefoil                                      (Trifolium dubium)
White Clover                                        (Trifolium repens)

Habitat Requirements

Downland
Rough Grassland
Wasteland
Roadside verges
Flower Meadows
Gardens
 

Wiltshire Status

Resident and widespread
Frequent to common

Wiltshire Sites

Pewsey Down
West Yatton Down
Blakehill
Barbury Castle

Earliest sightings
Earliest county record 18th April 2007, Bentley Wood, Mark Swann

 

Early Sightings
2013      
2012 30th April Whitesheet Hill Quarry Michael Plaxton
2011 23rd April Pewsey Down Stuart Gough
2010 6th May Somerford Common Terry & Gaynor Dabner
2010 6th May Boscombe Down Tony Horner
2009 1st May Porton Down Stuart Corbett
2008 7th May Upton Cow Down Geoff Hobson
2007 18th April Bentley Wood Mark Swann

Latest county record
19th October 2007

 

Chalkhill Blue

 

Chalkhill Blue

(Lysandra coridon) 

 


 

Wingspan  38mm 

Description

 

The Chalkhill Blue is one of the larger blue butterflies to be found in the UK, The males have silvery blue upperwings with a thick black border on the forewings, the underwings of the male are light grey brown (appearing almost white in the sun) and are heavily spotted. The females have brown upperwings and fawn underwings.

Your photographs


Flight Period
July to Mid September

Larval Food plants
Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa)

Habitat Requirements
Chalk Downland

Status
Resident, Widespread
Local, frequent / common

Wiltshire Sites
 
Pewsey Down
West Yatton Down
Barbury Castle

Earliest sightings

Earliest county record
30 May 1984 Morgan's Hill

 

Early Sightings
2013      
2012 19th July West Yatton Down Maurice Avent
2011 4th July DTE SP(W) West of the Warren Nigel Cope
2010 3rd July Snail Down Beryl Foote
2009 16th July Bratton Castle Mike Fuller
2008 22nd July Clearbury Down Gordon  Mackie
2007 9th July West Yatton Down Maurice Avent

Latest county record
1st  November 1972
 

Adonis Blue

  

     Adonis blue

            (Lysandra bellargus)

 
 
 
 
Wingspan.  38 mm
 
Description 
The male has brilliant turquoise blue uppperwings, edged with a fine black line. In both sexes the white fringes are distinctive as the dark cross veins intersect the white, this can help distinguish this species from the common blue.
 
The base colour of the female upperwings is brown. On the lower edge of the hindwings are  a number of small black spots surrounded with orange and blue. In the female Chalkhill  Blue these spots are surrounded by orange and white,

Your photographs
 
Flight Period
 
Double brooded: mid-May to mid-July and August to September 
Larval Food plants
 
Horse-shoe Vetch (Hippocrepis cosmosa)
 
Habitat Requirements
 
Calcareous downland
 
Wiltshire Status
 
Resident (Population Fluctuates)
 
Wiltshire Sites

Bratton Castle (Earthworks)
Barbury castle
Pewsey down
Cherhill Down
Park Bottom
 

Earliest sightings 

Earliest county record
23rd April 2011,  Whitesheet Hill Quarry,  David Rear

Early Sightings
2013      
2012 30th April Whitesheet Hill Quarry Michael Plaxton
2011 23rd April Whitesheet Hill Quarry David Rear
2010 13th May Boscombe Down Various Recorders
2009 10th May Bratton Castle Geoff Hiscocks
2008 11th May Oliver's Castle Phillip Cleverly
2008 11th May Boscombe Down Jon Millo
2007 28th April Boscombe Down Jon & Sally Milo

Latest county record
26th October 2010
 

Holly Blue

           Holly Blue

            (Celastrina argiolus)



 

 

 

 

 

 

Wingspan: 35mm

Description

The silvery blue underwings of both sexes are are marked with tiny black dots. The underwing also lacks any orange so it is unlikely to be confused with any other blue butterfly at rest. The Small Blue underwings are similar but this has sooty upperwings, whereas the Holly Blues upperwing are blue not unlike the Common Blue.

Your photographs

Flight Period

Usually double brooded: April – May – Early June  &  July – August -Early September
occasional third brood in September
 

Larval Food plants

Holly (Ilex  aquifolium) Fruit in Spring
Ivy (Hedera helix)   summer brood
Spindle (Euonymus europaeus)
Dogwood (Thelycrania sanguinea)
Gorse (Ulex spp)
Alder Buckthorn (frangula  alnus)
 

Habitat Requirements

Woods & Copses
Hedgerows
Gardens
 

Wiltshire Status

Resident: widespread & fairly common

Wiltshire Sites
Any suitable habitat
 

Earliest sightings 



Early Sightings
2013      
2012 22nd January Colerne Ford Mervyn & Julie Tyte
2011 25th March Westbury, Hilperton Nick Wynn
2010 10th April Biss Wood  (Trowbridge) Audrey Brown
2009 16th April Dean Hill Park Nick Wynn
2008 3rd April Westbury, Hilperton Nick Wynn, Ian Bartlett
2007 27th March Chippenham Monica Blake

Earliest county record
22nd January 2012, Colerne Ford,  Mervyn & Julie Tyte

Latest county record 
9th November  2011, Bratton, Alison Madock