Musin’ with Susan – Macro Moments Week 12

Brown Argus

butterflyAricia agestis, the brown argus, is a butterfly in the family Lycaenidae. It is found throughout the Palearctic eco-zone North to northern Jutland (Denmark) and East to Siberia and Tian Shan.

Subspecies

  • A. a. agestis S. Europe, Central Europe
  • A. a. calida Chavigneire Sicily, Italy, Asia Minor
  • A. a. azerbaidzhana Obraztsov, 1935 Transcaucasia, Caucaus Major
  • A. a. nazira (Moore, 1865) Darvaz, W.Pamirs, N. W. Himalayas

Appearance, biology (Great Britain)

Note that information on this species applies to Great Britain and some details may not be consistent with the species in other parts of its range. Although one of the “blues” both sexes are brown on the upper sides with a band of orange spots at the border of each wing. They can be mistaken for other female blues but the brown argus never has any blue scales at the base of the wings like other female blues often do. It could also be mistaken for the northern brown argus Aricia artaxrexes were it not for the fact that their ranges do not overlap in the UK, unlike on continental Europe. The underside has the typical “blue” pattern of a greyish/brownish ground colour with black spots outlined in white and a row of orange spots along the border. The pattern of the black spots is the best way to distinguish this species from female common, chalk hill and Adonis blues as they lack the black spot found near the base of the forewing which is present on these three species. This species has seen an expansion in its range in recent years and is widely distributed across southeast England and most of the Midlands with colonies occurring in Wales and as far north as Yorkshire. These northern sites have seen a lot of confusion in recent years with genetic studies looking at various colonies to separate the two Aricia spp. Until a few years ago, these northern colonies were thought to be the Northern Brown Argus and more colonies may yet be found to be misidentified. Like other blues it is common on the chalk downlands of southern England but will also use other habitats such as woodland clearings, coastal grasslands and heathland. It is completely unrelated to the Scotch Argus.

Life cycle and food plants

Note that information on this species applies to Great Britain and some details may not be consistent with the species in other parts of its range. common rock-rose Helianthemum nummularium sonnenrc3b6schenthe favoured food plant on Calcareous soils. In other habitats dove’s-foot cranesbill Geranium mollegeranium_molle-01_28xndr29

and common stork’s-bill Erodium cicutarium

illustration_erodium_cicutarium0 are used and possibly other Geranium spp. as well. Eggs are laid singly on the underside of leaves. The typically slug-like lycid larvae are green with a pale line along each side and always attended by ants. They hibernate as fully grown larvae and pupate the following spring. There are two broods a year in the southern colonies with adults on the wing in May and June and again in late July till mid September but further north they are single brooded and fly in June and July


Camera Make Sony DSC-W35

f Stop ƒ/2.8

Focal length 6.3 mm

Speed 1/320

ISO 100

Flash (off, did not fire)

.Macro Moments Week 12 – Brown Argus

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi Mick, very interesting! The challenge closes at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time each Tuesday. Look for the new challenge with the theme “Gdt Real Close” tomorrow morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MickETalbot says:

      Thanks for the heads up, appreciated

      Like

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