N A T U R K U N D L I C H E S   I N F O R M A T I O N S S Y S T E M

Polyommatus icarus (Rottemburg, 1775)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Papilio icarus Rottemburg, 1775: 21-22.
Type locality: Germany, Berlin.
Type: Not designated.

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
An exhaustive overview on the numerous synonyms and forms of P. icarus is given by Savela (2020). Some forms may represent distinct subspecies, especially in Asia, but this has not yet been demonstrated.

common Blue
l´Argus bleu commun
Hauhechel-Bläuling, gemeiner Bläuling
Argo azzurro
dos Puntos

Habit:

     
: Lithuania      
Picture from: www.ebay.at: © galijotas
Detailed view
     

Distribution:

The species is distributed throughout the Palaearctic region, from western Europe to the Russian far East (Savela 2020). The vertical distribution is documented from near sea-level up to 2400 m a.s.l. in the Alps (Kurz & Kurz 2020).

Biology:

in the biotope: Salzburg, mountains around Dienten, St. Veit, 2002.07.21 Salzburg, Lammer valley, Abtenau, way from Kohlhof to the Karalm, 2003.07.09 Salzburg, Osterhorn group, Strobl, Blinklingmoos near Gschwendt, 2002.08.15 Salzburg, Untersberg area, Großgmain, south of Freilichtmuseum, 2002.07.19
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
in the biotope: Salzburg, Flachgau, Eugendorf, Sophiensiedlung, 2003.09.04 Greece, Epirus, near Metsovo, 2003.05.20 : Ukraine, Kharkov, 2008.05.29 Styria, near Graz, Enzelsdorf, Kögl Wiese, 1999.07.24
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: www.flickr.com: © eugene_kar
Detailed view
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
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Styria, Graz, near Leibnitz, Gralla, powerplant, 2000.09.24 Styria, near Graz, Enzelsdorf, 2000.09.25 Styria, Teichalm area, Sommeralm, 2004.07.16 without data
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
Detailed view
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
Detailed view
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
Detailed view
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
Detailed view
underside: Styria, near Graz, Enzelsdorf, Kögl Wiese, 1999.07.24 without data : Styria, near Graz, Enzelsdorf, Zaunschirmwiese f. caerulea: Styria, Kleingraben, 2001.05.30
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
Detailed view
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
Detailed view
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
Detailed view
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
Detailed view
underside: Styria, near Graz, Enzelsdorf Styria, Graz, near Leibnitz, Gralla, powerplant, 2000.08.13 Styria, near Graz, Enzelsdorf , 2000.09.13 Copula: without data
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
Detailed view
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
Detailed view
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
Detailed view
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
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Styria, Kleingraben Wiese, 2001.05.23 Ukraine, Kharkov, 2007.06.07    
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
Detailed view
Picture from: www.flickr.com: © eugene_kar
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The species is quite euryoecious, with a Shannon-Wiener-index of 6.89. Nevertheless, it occurs mainly on poor meadows, street margins and wet meadows and only rarely in intensively cultivated landscape, tall herb vegetation, bushland or rocky places. It has, however, also been observed in gardens and parks. It is missing in woods. In Europe, the species occurs in two overlapping generations from the end of April to early October. The imagines are daily active from about 7:00 a.m. till 18:00 p.m., nectaring and copulation has been observed between 9:00 a.m. and 17:00 p.m. (Kurz & Kurz 2020). The imagines prefer sunny weather (cloudiness between 0 and 4/8, rarely also 6/8). They are active at least between 16-27.5 °C. have been observed to occupy small territories of a few square meters, which are defended vigorously against all flying invaders of similar size in buzzing flight. The borders of the territories are quite variable however and change several times during the same day.

For nectaring, preferably Lotus corniculatus is used, but also numerous other blossoms are visitied, among them Fabaceae, Asteraceae and Lamiaceae to a larger extent: Achillea millefolium, Centaurea jacea, Cistus creticus, Euphrasia officinalis rostkoviana, Lavandula angustifolia, Leontodon hispidus, Lotus pedunculatus, Lythrum salicaria, Medicago, Medicago coerulea x falcata, Prunella vulgaris, Salvia verticillata, Solidago canadensis, Succisa pratensis, Taraxacum officinale agg., Trifolium pratense and Trifolium repens repens. On most of these plants, competition to other butterflies, but also day-active noctuids and, rarely, also some Microlepidoptera is pronounced (all data following Kurz & Kurz 2020).

Stages in development:

     
Egg: Styria, near Graz, Enzelsdorf, 2000.09.16      
Picture from: © Gillmann Johannes
Detailed view
     

Egg. Eggs are laid singly on the leaves, although sometimes several on the same leaf.

Larva. The larva is predominantely green. It feeds on various Fabaceae. Savela (2020) list the following plants: Lathyrus spp., Vicia spp., Oxytropis campestris, Lotus corniculatus, Trifolium pratense, Oxytropis pyrenaica, Astragalus aristatus, Aastragalus onobrychis, Astragalus pinetorum, Medicago romanica, Medicago falcata and Trifolium repens. The larva is visitied by various ants, like Lasius alienus, L. flavus, L. niger, Formica subrufa, Plagiolepis pigmaea, Myrmica sabuleti.

Pupa. Pupation takes place close to the ground.

Diagnosis:

In North Africa, southern Iberia, the Baleares, Sardinia and Sicily, P. icarus is replaced by Polyommatus celina (Austaut, 1879). The latter is externally indistinguishable, but differs genetically. Some similar species also occur in Asia, their taxonomical status being partly unresolved however. From the most similar Plebicula thersites (Cantener, 1834), P. icarus is distinguished mostly by the presence of small eyespots in the basal part of the forewing underside. If these are missing occasionally, the bright violet-blue of the males of P. thersites, as well as the pronounced orange of the spots on the margin of the underside in P. thersites is distinguishing. The males of P. thersites also show a diffuse, somewhat darker spot of androconical scales on the forewing upperside.

Worth knowing:

Sources:

Kurz, M. A. & M. E. Kurz 2000–2020. Naturkundliches Informationssystem. URL: https://www.nkis.info [online 2020.05.20].
Rottemburg, S. A. 1775. Anmerkungen zu den Hufnagelischen Tabellen der Schmetterlinge. Erste Abtheilung. Der Naturforscher 6: 1-34. Halle.
Savela, M. 2020. Lepidoptera and some other life forms. Polyommatus Latreille, 1804. http://ftp.funet.fi/pub/sci/bio/life/insecta/lepidoptera/ditrysia/papilionoidea/lycaenidae/polyommatinae/polyommatus/ [online 2020.05.20].

Publication data:

history:
Kurz Michael: 2008.09.08
Kurz Michael: 2008.09.26
Kurz Michael: 2008.11.01
Kurz Michael: 2008.12.29
Kurz Michael: 2016.11.24
Kurz Michael: 2020.05.22
not reviewed

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