Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Large Blue (Maculinea arion) at Collard Hill, Somerset

June 28, 2012: (a belated posting)
A long day's round-trip to Collard Hill, near Glastonbury, fortunately coincided with some warm and periodically sunny weather. This is one of the sites where the formerly extinct Large Blue butterfly has been recently re-introduced. Here, on the south-facing sunny slopes is the ideal habitat with abundant wild thyme food-plant and the equally essential symbiotic red ant (Myrmica sabuleti) present in quantity.

In a four-hour period at least eight Large Blues were seen (including two very worn specimens and a female egg-laying on thyme), although they rarely settled and were extremely difficult to follow over the very steep slopes. They were also reluctant to fly other than in full sunshine and it was especially frustrating when a cloud bank settled overhead and darkened the slope although bright sunshine could be seen on the fields close by. Despite this, it was possible to eventually obtain a few photographs.

An ovipositing female

A very worn individual


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