Aricia agestis, Crete - photo © Ch. Almapantakis

Aricia agestis, Crete - photo © Ch. Almapantakis

Aricia agestis


Aricia agestis is a butterfly of the family Lycaenidae on the island of Crete, Greece.

Scientific name

Aricia agestis (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)

Common name

Brown Argus


Family: Lycaenidae > Subfamily: Polyommatinae > Tribus: Polyommatini > Genus: Aricia


Male to female: 25-30 mm


The upper side of this small butterfly is brown with a band of orange spots at the border of the wings in both sexes.

The underside of the wings is light brown colored, with the typical band of orange spots and several black markings forming a specific pattern.

Aricia agestis lacks the black spot near the base of the forewing that is present in the common blue females.


It flies low to the ground. When the Brown Argus is basking, it almost always settles facing head downwards with its wings open, towards the sun in order to absorb as much sunlight heat.


Aricia agestis in Crete can be found in many places such as gardens, glades, orchards, rocks, single trees or copses on farmland, and sunny grassy slopes.

Food plant

The larva feeds on Geraniaceae (Erodium and Geranium) and Cistaceae (Helianthemum) plants.

Flight period

The butterfly flies in 2-3 generations per year.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

The butterfly can be easily confused with Polyommatus icarus (Common Blue) females, which also occur in Crete. Here are some useful tips to spot the difference:

  • on the underside forewing, the Common Blue almost always has an extra black spot (cell spot), which is absent from the Brown Argus.
  • the apex of the forewing of Common Blue is less rounded than the Brown Argus
  • the orange lunes of Brown Argus tend to be brighter orange, stronger defined, and larger than in a Common Blue.
  • there is a more intense white streak in the center of the underside of the hindwing of Aricia agestis than in Polyommatus icarus.

Least Concern (LC)

(*European Red List of Butterflies, 2010).

Aricia Agestis Distribution Map

*based on