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2854 Views 10 Replies Last post: Jul 24, 2013 2:15 PM by awillkey RSS
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Jun 24, 2013 4:42 PM

Puzzled by this blue (Madrid). Can anyone help?

Captured this blue this morning. To the eye it looked a lighter blue but I checked my white balance setting and I'm happy this must be a faithful rendition. Unfortunately it flew off without giving me a view of the underwing!




I tried both my field guides looking for a blue with the following characteristics:


* white margin not chequered

* small black spots inside the hind wing outer margin

* black lines extend from forewing costa a short distance along veins

* forewing has dark area like a sex brand.


I came up with nothing. I decided to ignore the dark areas because they could be caused by the sun falling at an odd angle and came up with Plebejus hespecirus (Spanish Zephyr Blue). Problems with this - Collins describes the male ups as bright turquoise blue and that isn't the colour here.


Various chalk hill blues have the spots but they have chequered fringes. The only other possible I could find was Polyommatus golgus (Nevada Blue) but that has a narrow range horizontally (Granada) as well as vertically (2500 - 3000 m) and this was in Madrid and only at 1500 m!


Finally in desperation I also considered Agrodiaetus escheri (Escher's Blue). Collins shows it with the dark areas on the forewing as in my specimen but no black spots except on subspecies dalmaticus, which is way out of range. Then intriguingly I found this


The first two photos showing upper wings and photographed in the Spanish Pyrenees do show black spots not unlike my specimen. However, escheri has slight chequering on the hind wing. When I look again closely I can almost convince myself that my specimen has a couple of black streaks in the fringe at the top of the photo and on the left hind wing.


Can anyone help me sort this out?


I think I would personally plump for Escher's as it possibly ticks the most boxes but I'm bothered by those black spots and I don't know if the website above can be trusted.



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