Aricia agestis

Brown Argus


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

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S Greece, July 2007

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Var, France, May 2012

A lot of red on this individual - it looks like ssp. crameri.

Field notes and information

This is a member of a group of butterflies of uncertain taxonomy, an often confusing situation. Below I'll do my best to clarify the situation as best as I understand it...

Identification & Similar species: All Aricia can be separated from other genuses of similar species by the underside hindwing spots. The 2 spots in spaces 7 and 8 discal area are paired and do not form a gentle arc with the other spots in this line. They never have blue scaling on the upperside either.

The mountain argus A. artaxerxes is very similar but generally has much less orange on the upperside, usually tapering away towards the apex of the forewing but not often reaching it.

The taxon montensis is occasionally considered as a full species but more usually as a subspecies of artaxerxes. It is found in Iberia and Morocco, parts of France and the southern Balkans.

From northern UK, artaxerxes artaxerxes has a bright white upperside forewing cell spot and underside white spots often lack black pupils.

From the Iberian peninsular, north Africa, the Canaries and Sardinia A. cramera is now usually considered as a species separate fromA. agestis. It has very bright complete orange markings and the underside ground colour is rich orange-brown in many specimens.

Distribution & Flight: Most of Europe, except northern UK and Scandinavia. In Spain/ Portugal and north Africa, the taxon A. cramera flies. Generally two broods, three in hot places in the south. April/May to autumn.

Habitat & Behaviour: Flowery grassy places in diverse situations - upto subalpine levels.

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Var, France, July 2010

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Samos, Greece, June 2018

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Crete, Greece, June 2018

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Corsica, France, July 2012

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Lesbos, Greece, April 2005

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Ikaria, Greeece, June 2018

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Vaud, Switzerland, May 2019

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Vaud, Switzerland, May 2019

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Var, France, July 2010

Note the change in colouration with even a small change in the angle of reflected light.

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Catalonia, Spain, May 2007