Large Blue Butterfly by julienne1

Large Blue Butterfly

Oh those glorious blue wings! But trying to get a decent photograph of them open is really hard. I had to make several visits to Green Down Nature Reserve before I managed to catch one basking in the sun rather than fluttering by at speed or otherwise with its wings firmly shut. The Somerset Wildlife Trust reserve is one of only a handful of sites where this very rare butterfly can be seen. It has a very specialised and somewhat bizarre life cycle which means it needs wild thyme on which to lay its eggs and on which the young caterpillars feed. It also depends on a particular species of red ant being present (Myrmica sabuleti) . So that when the caterpillars have eaten enough wild thyme they fall off and "pretend" to be this red ant's larva so that the ants will take it back to its nest where the ants feed on a sugary substance the caterpillar secretes while it eats their ant grubs! After feasting on ant grubs for around 10 months the caterpillar pupates and eventually emerges in June to start the cycle all over again.
Envy, envy envy. I am so very pleased you managed to see & photograph one of these beauties. An obvious favourite of course!
I believe they all have Swedish ancestry. Many attempts to reintroduce them until careful research revealed the complex life cycle and VERY particular needs, what fussy butterflies they are.
I raelly am delighted for you, I'm smiling a HUGE smile - AND I've had 3 Brimstone babies, 2 girls and a boy with another to eclose over night. then the midwife rests until next weekend when 10 are due.
Brilliant photo, love it.
j
June 18th, 2018  
Such a delicate beautiful butterfly. Well done for getting that elusive image!
June 18th, 2018  
A wonderful capture of this lovely and rare species, fav!
June 18th, 2018  
@jesika2 yes I think all their ancestors are swedish because all the locals became extinct. I did go to Collard Hill as well but it always seemed to be too windy when I tried there. The Green Down reserve is more sheltered and I think there is a larger population too. Congratulations on the Brimstone babies! you have been busy :)
June 18th, 2018  
bep
So much beauty! Fav.
June 18th, 2018  
So beautiful Julienne. Fav
June 18th, 2018  
yes I have that same problem and usually give up - beautiful capture :)
June 18th, 2018  
Well, you have a lovely photo to show for your patience Julienne.
June 18th, 2018  
Beautiful Fav
June 18th, 2018  
What a beauty, I never manage to get a decent photo of a butterfly.
June 19th, 2018  
Great shot.
June 19th, 2018  
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