Cyprus Butterflies by Eddie John F. L. S., F. R. E. S.

A Guide to the Butterflies of Cyprus,

Cyprus Butterfly Recording Scheme and

Cyprus Butterfly Study Group

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Butterflies of Cyprus - LYCAENIDAE
(Cont. 3)

Brown Argus (
Aricia agestis)
Mainly recorded from the western half of the island, with no records known to the east of Larnaka in the south of the island. Found at all altitudes from spring to late autumn. See photograph on left and comparisons below for distinguishing between this species and the Common Blue.

Common Blue (
Polyommatus icarus)

Common. Recorded in all months except January. A couple of records exist from the last week of February (Christodoulos Makris and Nigel Cottle), but emergences this early in the year are unusual. Though common, overall, in Cyprus, P. icarus is less frequently seen during the summer months. See photographs below and left. (See also: ‘Distinguishing characters of the Blues’, on Page 3.7) N.B. the upperside ground colour of first-brood females may be partially or completely mauve-blue. See photograph below left.

Genista sphacelata, the larval foodplant of the Paphos Blue (Glaucopsyche paphos),
Troodos Mts 1470 m, June 2006 © Eddie John

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Prosopis farcta, the larval foodplant of the Small Desert Blue (Chilades galba),
Lefka 38 m, June 2006 © Eddie John

Brown Argus (Aricia agestis), Platres 1000 m, June 2006 © Yiannis Christofides

Close-up of Thymus capitatus, the probable larval hostplant of the Eastern Baton Blue (Pseudophilotes vicrama), near Alethriko, 114 m, June 2006.
© Eddie John

Zizyphus lotus, larval hostplant of Little Tiger Blue (Tarucus balkanicus) foothills of Troodos Mountains / Mesaoria Plain, 290m.
© Eddie John

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus), male, Akrotiri 0 m, November 2001 © Christodoulos Makris

Underside hindwing: Imagine a curve drawn through the spots running inside the wing margin and orange lunules. Note that the white arrowed spot in the Brown Argus usually drops outside the curve, forming what is frequently referred to as a ‘colon’ (as in punctuation mark!). This is the best defining character.

Underside forewing
: The Common Blue almost always has a spot in the cell (blue arrow), which is absent from the Brown Argus.

Wing fringes
: Especially in fresh specimens, the wing fringes of Brown Argus appear slightly chequered (orange arrow), unlike the Common Blue.

Base of wing
: Blue or blue/green scales may be found on the female Common Blue (yellow arrow), usually fewer or absent, on the Brown Argus.

On the wing
: the appearance of the Brown Argus is darker, often flashing silver.

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus), 1st brood female with brown ground colour partially replaced by mauve-blue.
Akrotiri 0 m, April 1995 © Christodoulos Makris

Distinguishing between Brown Argus and female Common Blue