Species index

Dusky Large Blue

(Maculinea nausithous)

 

Female 23/07/03 Swiss Alps

Female laying on Sanguisorba officinalis 17/08/05 Ain (01)

Female 23/07/03 Swiss Alps

Female 23/07/03 Swiss Alps

The Dusky Large Blue is a rare butterfly which is found only in specialised wetland habitat containing extensive growth of its larval foodplant great burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis.)  Indeed the butterflies are so tied to this plant that whenever they come to rest it is to sit atop one of the characteristic dark red flower heads. Hence photographs of the species are almost exclusively in this posture. In my experience the butterfly prefers flowers which are growing in rather lush areas of meadow or where there is minimal scrub invasion. In the Ain in 2005 a very large fairly low cut meadow covered in S.officinalis was devoid of the species which was only to be found in the denser margins or even flying over the top of head high reed beds! It often shares its habitat with the equally rare Scarce Large Blue (Maculinea telejus) which lays on the same larval foodplant.

Species index