If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

20 April, 2011

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)

Is the Holly Blue not an adorable little butterfly? Totally exquisite when seen close up!

The Holly Blue is also a fascinating little creature. The insect over winters as a pupae, usually hidden in amongst Ivy. In April (there seem to have been quite a number this year) they emerge, mate and lay their eggs on Holly flowers. First broods will be gone by early June and then the eggs from the first brood (laid on Holly) emerge, mate and lay their eggs on Ivy. The larvae pupate and over winter in amongst the Ivy and so the cycle continues. Second broods are only briefly on the wing in late July/early August.

Most 'blues' are grassland species but the Holly Blue is, because of its affinity to the Holly and the Ivy, more at home in woodlands, shrubby areas and gardens. It is the most likely blue you will see in your garden in most areas.

The other feature of the Holly Blue is wonderful silver colour with black spots on the under wing. It is possible to detect the silvery colouring even when the butterfly is in flight.