Large Blue - Phengaris arion

large blue butterfly phengaris arion

Large Blue butterfly photographed on Collard Hill, June 2011

This is the largest and rarest of our blue butterflies, distinguished by the unmistakable row of black spots on its upper forewing. The Large Blue is one of the most enigmatic butterflies, whose remarkable life cycle involves spending most of the year within the nests of red ants, where the larvae feed on ant grubs.

It has always been rare in Britain but declined rapidly during the twentieth century and became extinct in 1979. It has since been reintroduced successfully as part of an important habitat and species conservation programme.
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