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Polyommatus icarus

Common Blue

Field Notes

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Vaud, Switzerland, May 2010

N Sweden, July 2010

Valais, Switzerland, October 2010

Var, France, July 2010

Valais, Switzerland, August 2009

Valais, Switzerland, April/May 2008

Vaud, Switzerland, August 2008

NW Greece, August 2008

S Greece, July 2007

Vaud, Switzerland, May 2007

Pelopennesos, Greece, July 2007


Pletvar Massif, FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), July 2004

Crete, June 2004

Crete, June 2004

Female showing darker underside ground colour.

Vaud, Switzerland, July 2006

Valais, Switzerland, April 2006

Valais, Switzerland, May 2006

Valais, Switzerland, July 2006

Var, France, May 2006

Valais, Switzerland, July 2006

Var, France, May 2005

Var, France, May 2005


Valais, Switzerland, May 2004

Valais, Switzerland, August 2005

Middle Atlas, Morocco, June 2005

Alpes de Haute Provence, France, May 2005

Valais, Switzerland, June 2004

Alpes Maritimes, Italy, August 2004

Crete, June 2004

Montes Universales, Spain, August 2003

Pelopennesos, Greece, June 2002


Dorest, UK, August 2000

Hampshire, UK, August 2000

Macedonia, Greece, July 2000

Cyprus, April 2002


One of Europe's most widespread butterflies it is found from the edge of the Sahara to northern Scotland and northern Scandinavia to Greece. It occupies many habitats and is found from sea level to high mountains (upto 3000m). Not surprisingly there are many variations across this range. The constant feature that greatly helps separate this species from several others is the presence of a black spot in the underside forewing cell. This distinguishes it from the otherwise very similar Chapman's Blue, A. thersites, and the larger brighter Escher's Blue, A. escheri. In northern Greece the Phalakron Blue, P. andronicus but this is so rare and local that it is unlikely to be encountered without specific expeditions to look for it. It is much larger than icarus. Confusion with other species is unlikely.

The cell spot is absent in Common Blues as an unusual but apparently constant proportion of butterflies. I have heard in Switzerland that the spot is absent in 7% of Common Blues. I don't remember seeing this in the UK so perhaps it is rather rare there. However in Europe the Chapman's Blue is extremely similar to the Common Blue but it always lacks this spot.