Cupido minimus

Small Blue

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2016

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Photo: minimus

Valais, Switzeland, June 2013

Photo: minimus

Vaud, Switzerland, May 2008

Field notes and information

This is one of Europe's smallest butterflies, but its size is very variable. Small ones measure little over 10mm in wingspan. It is widespread and often common. In certain conditions in mountains they can be found in huge groups taking salts on hot days.

Identification & Similar species: Both sexes are rather dull brown on the upperside, the male has some blue basal scales. They are very similar to several other species. Males can usually be distinguished as follows, but females are so similar that identification is not possible in most cases.

Male osiris and Lorquin's blues, C. osiris & C. lorquinii, have bright blue uppersides. The former is found more or less commonly in parts of southern Europe and the latter does not overlap in range being found in south Spain and north Africa.

Carswell's small blue, C. carswelli, males are extremely similar. It is now usually considered a subspecies the current species. It is only found in southeast Spain where C. minimusdoes not fly.

The short tailed blues Everes have tails and blue males, but sometimes the tail is absent. However there is always a small kink in the black marginal line where the tail would be expected, in the small blues Cupido this is a smooth curve.

Distribution & Flight: Widespread, it flies from northern Spain to Greece to Scandinavia. It is sporadic in the northern part of its range. One (June/ July) or two broods (April/ May and July or later) depending on location.

Habitat & Behaviour: The larvae feed on the seeds of kidney vetch and the adults can usually be found where this plant grows.

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2015

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Genève, Switzerland, June 2013

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Valais, Switzerland July 2014

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Hohe Tauern, Austria July 2014

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Grisons, Switzerland, July 2013

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Valais, Switzerland, May/ June/ July 2010

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2009

A large group congregating to take salts in high mountains.

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2011

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2015

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Hautes Alpes, France, July 2013

With Glandon blue Agridades glandon as a drinking partner.

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Hohe Tauern, Austria July 2014

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Valais, Switzerland, May/ June 2009

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2008

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2008

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2015

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Vaud, Switzerland, June 2011

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Var, France, April 2006

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2015

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Vaud, Switzerland, June 2011

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Vaud, Switzerland, July 2012

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Genève, Switzerland, June 2013

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Vaud, Switzerland, May 2007

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Valais, Switzerland, May/ June/ July 2010