Agriades dardanus

Balkan Blue

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2016

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Photo: dardanus

Pirin Mts, Bulgaria, July 2004

Male.

Photo: dardanus

Pirin Mts, Bulgaria, July 2004

Field notes and information

Extremely local in the southern Balkans. Discussion about the status of this taxon as a full species or a subspecies of the Gavarnie blue, A. pyrenaicus dardanus, is still not concluded.

In 2004 it was extremely satisfying to discover a thriving colony of this rare and extremely local butterfly in Bulgaria. We probably saw 30 or 40 individuals in the very tiny area they were flying over.

Identification & Similar species: No similar species share the same range.

Distribution & Flight: From a limited number of mountains in the southern Balkans from north Greece, south Bulgaria, FYROM, Bosnia where it is very local. Flies in July.

Habitat & Behaviour: Our Bulgarian colony was on a small rocky ridge with a great variety of plants and sparse grasses at roughly 1900m. It was my father who found them - we had both spent an hour wandering fruitlessly across similar looking areas nearby without finding a single specimen.

It is a very small and inconspicuous butterfly. It flies low over the ground stopping frequently on rocks or to take nectar from low plants.

Photo: dardanus

Pirin Mts, Bulgaria, July 2004

Female.

Photo: dardanus

Pirin Mts, Bulgaria, July 2004

Photo: dardanus

Pirin Mts, Bulgaria, July 2004

Photo: dardanusPhoto: dardanusPhoto: dardanusPhoto: dardanus

Pirin Mts, Bulgaria, July 2004

Female underside, much browner than the male.

Photo: dardanus

Pirin Mts, Bulgaria, July 2004

Male taking salts from the fabric of my trouser leg

Photo: dardanusPhoto: dardanusPhoto: dardanus

Pirin Mts, Bulgaria, July 2004

Photo: dardanus

Pirin Mts, Bulgaria, July 2004

Another favoured nectar plant, second only to thyme, Thymus.

Photo: dardanus

Pirin Mts, Bulgaria, July 2004