Polyommatus icarus, Crete - photo © K. Bormpoudaki
Polyommatus icarus is a butterfly of the family Lycaenidae on the island of Crete, Greece.
Polyommatus icarus (Rottemburg, 1775)
Family: Lycaenidae > Subfamily: Polyommatinae > Tribus: Polyommatini > Genus: Polyommatus
Male to female: 20-35 mm
Upperside, the male butterfly has a blue color with a black marginal border. The female varies from dark brown to almost blue with orange submarginal spots.
Underside, the male has greyish to light blue colors, contrary to the female that is brownish.
In weak sunlight conditions male often basks on low herbage, with wings held half-open. In overcast but warm conditions, it sometimes basks with wings fully open. When the weather is warm and sunny it flies actively from flower to flower.
Polyommatus icarus in Crete lives in several habitats from sea level to the mountains, in fallow land, glades, meadows, ruderal areas, and waysides.
The larva feeds on Fabaceae (Lotus, Trifolium, Trigonella, Astragalus, Ononis) plants.
The butterfly flies in 2-3 generations per year. It can be observed almost all year long.
The female butterfly can be easily confused with Aricia Agestis (Brown Argus), which also occurs 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)
Polyommatus Icarus Distribution Map
Polyommatus icarus location map based on greek butterflies distributions maps by L.N. Pamperis (revised 2021)