Pseudophilotes abencerragus

False Baton Blue

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2016

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Photo: abencerragus

Anti Atlas, Morocco, April 2013

Photo: abencerragus

Anti Atlas, Morocco, April 2013

Field notes and information

A small butterfly, very hard to separate from the widespread panoptes blue, P. panoptes, in south Spain and Portugal where it is very local and appears to be rather uncommon and hard to find. It may be under-recorded due to identification difficulties. Much more widespread in north Africa where there is no confusion with similar species.

Identification & Similar species: Very similar to the panoptes blue, panoptes. The species ranges overlap in parts of south Spain/ Portugal. Separation of the species is very hard. I think presence of the larval food plant Cleonia lusitanica is key, although during the flight time it is not flowering and will be very hard to identify. Adult butterflies have supposedly a darker duller grey underside ground colour.

Distribution & Flight: north Africa and sporadic in southern and central Spain and Portugal. In north Africa it is widespread and common in spring. It flies in April in Europe and in April/ May often with a second brood in August/ September in north Africa.

Habitat & Behaviour: Flies low amongst rocks and dry grass where its very small size renders it difficult to track with the eye. Hot dry grassy places amongst open woodland or scrub. In north Africa I've generally found it near water and trees e.g. around irrigated fields or in oases deeper in the desert. Larvae take thyme, Thymus, and one or two other low growing plants. In Spain, the larval food plant is the distinctive Cleonia lusitanica.

Photo: abencerragus

Anti Atlas, Morocco, April 2013

Photo: abencerragus

Anti Atlas, Morocco, April 2013

Photo: abencerragus

Madrid, Spain, May 2009

Larval food plant: Cleonia lusitanica. I was too late in the year to find any adults.

Photo: abencerragusPhoto: abencerragusPhoto: abencerragus

Madrid, Spain, May 2009

Habitat and larval food plant: Cleonia lusitanica.

Photo: abencerragus

Anti Atlas, Morocco, March 2001

Photo: abencerragusPhoto: abencerragus

Anti Atlas, Morocco, March 2001

Photo: abencerragus

High Atlas, Morocco, July 2005, 2000m