Holly blue: the holly and the ivy ...

Is the holly blue (Celastrina argiolus) not an adorable little butterfly? Totally exquisite when seen close up with an amazing silvery under wing and bright blue upper wings although the females have black markings on the upper wings which can be confusing!
The holly blue is also a fascinating creature. The insect over winters as a pupae, usually hidden in amongst Ivy. In April
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.
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