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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Distinguishing characters of the ‘blues’ found in Cyprus (see previous page for Aricia agestis and Polyommatus icarus)

Long-tailed Blue (
Lampides boeticus) and
Lang’s Short-tailed Blue (
Leptotes pirithous):

Lampides boeticus and Leptotes pirithous often appear very similar in flight, especially if worn. If specimens are large, they are most likely to be L. boeticus, but this species does vary in size, especially in hot climates such as in Cyprus, so do not rely for identification on this character alone. A reliable differentiating feature is the broad white band on the hindwing underside of L. boeticus, whereas L. pirithous looks more evenly mottled (see photographs on left). However, the flight of both species is so rapid that identification should be confirmed when the butterfly is at rest.

Long-tailed Blue Blue (Lampides boeticus) female, © Christodoulos Makris

Lang’s Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous)
© Christodoulos Makris

Paphos Blue, (Glaucopsyche paphos), male,
© Christodoulos Makris

Small Desert Blue (Chilades galba)
© Christodoulos Makris

African Grass Blue (Zizeeria karsandra)
© Christodoulos Makris

Eastern Baton Blue (Pseudophilotes vicrama)
© Christodoulos Makris

African Grass Blue (Zizeeria karsandra), Small Desert Blue (Chilades galba) and Grass Jewel (Chilades trochylus):

The non-tailed blues Zizeeria karsandra and Chilades galba occasionally fly together, and can be difficult to separate unless viewed very closely, when separation is easy. In addition to the comments given on Page 3.5, note that Zizeeria karsandra has very noticeable black spots on the undersides of both fore- and hindwings, which are completely absent from the forewing of Chilades galba. Note also that C. galba has very distinctive marginal spots, not found in Z. karsandra.
The Grass Jewel (
Chilades trochylus) shown below, is even smaller, is generally found in different localities from the aforementioned, and is the only one of these three species that may also be found at high elevations (up to 1900 m).

Paphos Blue (Glaucopsyche paphos) and
Green-underside Blue (
Glaucopsyche alexis):

Glaucopsyche alexis, though very common in other islands of the Mediterranean, is NOT found in Cyprus. The representative of this genus present on the island is the superficially similar endemic Glaucopsyche paphos - see photograph left.
The underside forewing spots on the Paphos Blue are so large as to be noticeable in flight.
Other members of the Lycaenidae family which have been confused with
Glaucopsyche paphos are:
Black-eyed Blue (
Glaucopsyche melanops) and
Mazarine Blue (
Cyaniris semiargus), neither of which is present in Cyprus.

C. trochylus has four, black, submarginal ocelli with silvery-blue highlights, on both surfaces of the the hindwings, all surrounded by bright orange, thereby easily distinguishing it from the two previously mentioned blues. See additional photographs on Page 3.5.

Grass Jewel (Chilades trochylus)
© Christodoulos Makris

Green-underside Blue, (Glaucopsyche alexis), male, Aghios Geordios, CORFU, June 1987.
© Eddie John

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
© Christodoulos Makris

African Babul Blue (Azanus jesous) photographed in Israel
© Dubi Benyamini

African Babul Blue (Azanus jesous)

This species is an extreme rarity in Cyprus, not having been found since 1940. However, I include it because the species is a known migrant, reported from northern Lebanon (Butterflies of Lebanon, 1974. T. B. Larsen), so could again be found in Cyprus. It is also present in Israel and the Arabian Peninsula. A. jesous is very similar to (though larger than) the Small Desert Blue (Chilades galba) above left, but note the presence of small black spots on the underside forewing and also the more numerous black marginal spots on the underside hindwing of A. jesous. In Lebanon, the species flies in company with C. galba (Larsen, 1974), so, were it to be found again in Cyprus, it could be expected in localities where Prosopis farcta (recorded as the larval hostplants of both species) is found.