Lepidoptera The Clifden Blue Butterfly – Lycana Bellargus

Our coloured representations of this beautiful blue (Butterflies PhotoPlate VI, figs. 17 and 18) show that here also there is a great difference between the male and female. The former is a most lovely and brilliant sky blue, bordered by a fine black line; and the latter is a dull dark brown, with a more or less distinct border of orange spots, and the bases of the wings are powdered with scales of a tint corresponding with those of the male. In both sexes the fringe is very distinctly barred with dark brown.

Butterfly Image The Clifden Blue. Fig. 90.-The Clifden Blue-Under Side.

The under side (fig. 90) is similar in both sexes-greyish brown, with a border of reddish spots, and a number of black spots in white rings, the arrangement of which is here represented.

The butterfly frequents chalky downs, chiefly in the south of England, and seems to be unknown in Scotland and Ireland. The Isle of Wight, and the chalky downs and banks of Sussex, Surrey, and Kent, are its favourite localities; and even in these it is generally very local, sometimes swarming on a grassy bank of no great extent, when the surrounding neighbourhood, though apparently equally suitable to its requirements, does not harbour a single specimen. It is on the wing in May and June, and again in August.

The caterpillar is green, with two rows of yellow streaks on the back, and a yellow stripe on each side. It feeds on the Dutch clover (Trifolium repens), horse-shoe vetch (Hippocrepis comosa), and various other leguminous plants.