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Butterfly populations are a very good indicator of the health of an area's ecosystem !!
Images contributed by U.K.
photographer Deborah Lovell.
Silver Studded Blues are found primarily in England and Wales, but can also be found across Europe and east across Russia.
Thy emerge in June and are usually flying until late August.
They are a somewhat rare butterfly, generally found in heathland habitats that have short, sparsely vegetated areas.
In the UK, they are limited to close knit colonies in southern England and Wales.
Two subspecies can be found in their range, while two others are now extinct in the UK.
Caterpillars of Plebejus argus form a close relationship with ants, with the ants protecting the caterpillars from predators and parasites, and receiving in return a sugary food substance that the caterpillars produce.
When the caterpillars are ready to pupate, they do so in shallow chambers below ground. (often in ant nests.)
The ants attend the pupa as they did the caterpillar, and can be seen teeming around the newly emerged adult butterflies, offering them protection as they wait for their wings to dry.
They are a small butterfly, and get their name from the light blue reflective scales found on the ventral side of the wings.
The dorsal wing sides are blue with a dark outer edge.
Males are bluer than females, which tend towards a dull brown.
They can be distinguished from other blues by the small silver blue spots on the hind wings.
On the dorsal side, males are a bright blue with a chunky black outline.
The females are brown and less conspicuous.
They are generally seen flying from June to August.
Plebejus argus has undergone tremendous decreases in recent years.
Diet: includes Heather (Calluna vulgaris), Heaths (Erica spp.), Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) and Rockose (Helianthemum nummularium)
Avg. wingspan: 2.6 - 3.2cm / 1 - 1.25"
The single biggest threat to butterfly survival is habitat destruction!!
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