Steven Cheshire's British Butterflies
British Butterflies: Species: Species Account - The Adonis Blue:
Adonis Blue
Polyommatus bellargus (Rottemburg, 1775)

Adonis Blue egg.
  Adonis Blue caterpillar.
  Adonis Blue chrysalis
Adonis Blue
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Insecta: Lepidoptera : Family Lycaenidae: Subfamily Lycaeninae : Genus Polyommatus: Species bellargus:
The Adonis Blue (originally known as the Clifden Blue) is the most vivid of our Blue butterflies. The Male Adonis Blue is a real jewel. Most males are a vivid sky-blue colour while others are more turquoise and depending upon how the sun reflects on their wings they may even appear to be an irridesent purple.

The females are chocolate brown in colour fringed with white although on some sites Blue females may occur. Both the male and female have black lines which extend across the outer white fringe a feature which distinguishes this species from the
Common Blue.

The males patrol their teritory flying low over short turf looking for females. This species has an important relationship with both Red Ants (Myrmica sabuleti) and Black Ants (Lasius alienus) as the larvae are often tended by ants.
The Adonis Blue is to be found on Chalk and Limestone grassland in particular on South facing slopes on un-improved close-cropped turf where its larval foodplant Horseshoe Vetch is found in abundance.
The Adonis Blue is restricted to the limestone and chalk of southern England. Good areas include Dorset, Isle of Wight, the Chilterns, Wessex and Kent.
Where to see the Adonis Blue in the British Isles
Wiltshire: Martin Down
Isle of Wight: Compton Down
Dorset: Ballard Down, Cerne Hill Giant, Corfe Castle, Fontmell Down
Gloucestershire: Rodborough Common

Other sites include Devils Dyke and Durlston Country Park.
Other notes
Lifecycle chart
Flight chart
The lifecycle and flight charts should be regarded as approximate guides to the Adonis Blue in Britain. Specific lifecycle states, adult emergence and peak flight times vary from year to year due to variations in weather conditions.
IUCN category status 2010 5   IUCN category status 2007 34
--awaiting data-- --awaiting data--

5Fox, R., Warren, M., Brereton, T. M., Roy, D. B. & Robinson, A.
(2010) A new Red List of British Butterflies. Insect Conservation and Diversity.
Near Threatened Near Threatened

3Fox, R., Warren, M & Brereton, T.
(2007) New Red List of British Butterflies. Butterfly Conservation, Wareham.

4More information about IUCN categories.
UK status
Larval foodplants
The larvae feed on Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa)
Butterflies of Britain ID Chart
Your personal guide to British Butterflies. This 8-panel laminated chart is designed for speedy butterfly identification in the field. Ideal for anyone interested in identifying butterflies, perfect for children and adults and ideal for outdoor use, laminated, shower-proof and robust. Get your copy today.
Butterflies of Britain (Laminated ID Chart).
Online store
Visit our online store for many more butterfly related books and gifts.
Population trends 1
UK Population trend 1995-2004 up by 63%
UK Population trend 1976-2004 up by 28%

1Fox, R., Asher. J., Brereton. T., Roy, D & Warren, M. (2006) The State of Butterflies in Britain & Ireland, Pices, Oxford.
UK BAP status 2
UK BAP status priority species (link)

2For information about the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, visit the JNCC web site

National Biodiversity Network Gateway
National Biodiversity Network Gateway Distribution Map

Areas in and indicate a contraction in distribution of the Adonis Blue except in Ireland where data is only available up until 1999.

* Records shown in outside the natural distribution may be the result of illegal or accidental releases by breeders or, depending upon the species, migrant individuals from mainland Europe.

Key to map*
= 2000 to 2010 inclusive (current distribution)
= records from 1950 to 1999 inclusive
= records from 1900 to 1949 inclusive
Records prior to 1st January 1900 are not shown.

The NBN Gateway records are shown on the map right. (See terms and conditions).

More data is available on the Adonis Blue on the NBN Gateway web site.
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For full details of books and reports mentioned on this web site, view the references page.

Find out more online*
Adonis Blue can be found on Peter Eeles excellent UK Butterflies web site.
Adonis Blue can be found on Matt Rowlings excellent European Butterflies web site.

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Photographs of the Adonis Blue
Image ID BB1907 - Adonis Blue - © Steven Cheshire
Adonis Blue female (imago)
BB1907 ©
Image ID BB1906 - Adonis Blue - © Steven Cheshire
Adonis Blue male (imago)
BB1906 ©
Image ID BB1905 - Adonis Blue - © Steven Cheshire
Adonis Blue male (imago)
BB1905 ©
Image ID BB1904 - Adonis Blue - © Steven Cheshire
Adonis Blue female (imago)
BB1904 ©
Image ID BB1903 - Adonis Blue - © Steven Cheshire
Adonis Blue male (imago)
BB1903 ©
Image ID BB1902 - Adonis Blue - © Steven Cheshire
Adonis Blue male (imago)
BB1902 ©
Image ID BB1901 - Adonis Blue - © Steven Cheshire
Adonis Blue male (imago)
BB1901 ©
Image ID BB1900 - Adonis Blue - © Steven Cheshire
Adonis Blue male (imago)
BB1900 ©
Image ID BB1899 - Adonis Blue - © Steven Cheshire
Adonis Blue male (imago)
BB1899 ©
Image ID BB1898 - Adonis Blue - © Steven Cheshire
Adonis Blue male (imago)
BB1898 ©
There are 62 photographs of the Adonis Blue in our stock photo library.
View more photographs of the Adonis Blue as a thumbnail gallery or as a slideshow.
Aberrations and forms
There are 31 named aberrant forms of the Adonis Blue currently listed. Find out more about aberrants here.

ab. albicincta - Tutt 1909
ab. albofimbriata - Gillmer 1905
ab. argentea - Tutt 1909
ab. atrescens - Tutt 1909
ab. caeruleo-cuneata - Tutt 1909
ab. cinnides - Staudinger 1901
ab. conjuncta - Tutt 1909
ab. crassipuncta - Courvoisier 1903
ab. czekelii - Aigner 1905
ab. detersa - Verity 1911
ab. disco-elongata - Courvoisier 1911
ab. excelsia - Tutt 1909
ab. flavescens - Tutt 1909
ab. irregularis - Tutt 1909
ab. krodeli - Gillmer 1900
ab. marginata - Tutt 1896
ab. minor - Muschamp 1908
ab. nigra - Cockerell 1889
ab. obsoleta - Tutt 1896
ab. pallida - Austin 1890
ab. puncta - Tutt 1896
ab. purpurascens - Tutt 1909
ab. rufescens - Tutt 1909
ab. semiceronus - Tutt 1909
ab. striata - Tutt 1896
ab. subtus-partim-radiata - Oberthür 1896
ab. suffusa - Tutt 1896
ab. totonigra - Lipscomb 1966
ab. urania - Gerhard 1853
ab. venilia - Bergstrasser 1779
ab. viridescens - Tutt 1909
Adonis Blue ab.krodeli