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Polyommatus Icarus

Polyommatus Icarus
Photo Information
Copyright: Livio Carroccia (livius) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 300 W: 0 N: 391] (1525)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-05-10
Categories: Insects
Camera: Nikon D50 Digital SLR, Sigma 70-300 4-5.6 APO DG MACRO
Exposure: f/10.0, 1/640 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-06-22 4:08
Viewed: 3223
Points: 54
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Papilionoidea
Family: Lycaenidae
Subfamily: Polyommatinae
Tribe: Polyommatini
Genus: Polyommatus
Species: P. icarus

The Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) is a small butterfly in the family Lycaenidae.

Appearance, behaviour and distribution

Male uppersides are an iridescent lilac blue with a thin black border. Females are brown with a row of red spots along the edges. They usually have some blue at the base of the wings and, especially in Ireland and Scotland, are mostly blue but always have the red spots. Undersides have a greyish ground colour in the males and more brownish in the females. Both sexes have a row of red spots along the edge of the hindwings (extending onto the forewings though generally fainter, particularly in the males where they are sometimes missing altogether). There are about a dozen black centered white spots on the hind wings, nine on the forwings. The white fringe on the outer edge of the wings is not crossed with black lines as it is in the Chalkhill and Adonis Blues, an important difference when separating these species, particularly the females.
It is Britain's (and probably Europe's) most common and most widespread blue, found as far north as Orkney and on most of the Outer Hebrides. Males are often very obvious as they defend territories against rivals and search out the more reclusive females. A range of grassland habitats are used: meadows, coastal dunes, woodland clearings and also many man made habitats, anywhere where their food plants are found.
It is widespread in Europe, North Africa and temperate Asia.
Recently, Polyommatus icarus was discovered in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada by Ara Sarafian. An amateur entomologist, he had been observing the butterfly from 2005 to 2008. He contacted the Canadian National Collection of Insects in Ottawa where the butterfly was identified as P. icarus, a new alien butterfly to Canada and North America. The butterfly seems to be well established and is extending its range from year to year

Lifecycle and food plants
The main food plant on most sites is Bird's foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus). Others used include Black Medick Medicago lupulina, Common Restharrow Ononis repens, White Clover Trifolium repens and Lesser Trefoil Trifolium dubium. Eggs are laid singly on young shoots of their food plants.
The caterpillar is small, pale green with yellow stripes and as usual with lycid larvae rather slug-like. Hibernation occurs as a half grown larvae. They are attractive to ants but not as much as some other species of blues. The chrysalis is olive green/brown and formed on the ground where it is attended by ants which will often take it into their nests. The larvae creates a substance called honey dew, which the ants eat while the butterfly lives in the ant hill. In the south of Britain there are two broods a year flying in May and June and again in August and September. Northern England has one brood flying between June and September. In a long warm year there is sometimes a partial third brood in the south flying into October.

Polyommatus icarus
Argo azzurro

30-35 mm. - Comune in tutta Italia.
Piccolo lepidottero dallo spiccato dimorfismo sessuale. I maschi con ali superiormente blu e con riflessi violacei, margini soffusi di nero e contornati di frange bianche. Le femmine hanno livrea marrone con riflessi bluastri. Le parti inferiori, in ambedue i sessi, sono grigiastre o marrone chiaro, con macchie nere contornate di bianco e serie complete di lunule arancioni puntate di nero.
La specie, svernante allo stadio di bruco, compare da aprile in poi con due o tre generazioni annuali. Le larve vanno alla ricerca di varie Papilionacee (gen. Medicago, Genista, Trifolium, Lathyrus, Ononis, Lotus, ecc..); si presentano verdi con linea medio dorsale più scura e fianchi percorsi a livello degli stigmi da una fascia biancastra. La ninfosi dura circa due settimane.

Alex99, Christopher_PL, maurydv, nikosrio, Argus, siggi, Dis. Ac., goutham_ramesh, roges, anel, flashpoint, Heaven, marhowie, valy67, boreocypriensis has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2009-06-22 4:35]

beautiful lighting and very detailed and colorful blue. composition is very good with those flowers and the background looks magical. tfs.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2009-06-22 5:21]

Hi Livio.
Very nice, 3D-looking image of a cute small butterfly. Very attractive lights and shadows. I like plant with white flowers which serves as a stage for this beauty. BG is amazing. Its colourfulness is awesome. Sharpness and details of the butterfly image are stunning. Well done and TFS.

Hello Livio,
Very nice picture although there is a little shadow on the butterfly wings. Excellent sharpness, TFS


Ciao Livio,
splendida immagine di Argo azzurro dai bellissimi colori ben saturati, ottima nitidezza in una composizione molto piacevole ed equilibrata.
Grazie e complimenti

Hello Livio,
excellent capture, sharp details, nice colors,light and BG,
have a nice day,

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2009-06-22 9:16]

Ciao Livio,
Despite the reverse lights ...
It's a nice little butterfly macro photo.
Depth of field, color and detail are very good.
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-06-22 9:32]

Hello Livio,
A fine macro of this Lycaenid taken in difficult lighting to give a nice effect. The sharpness and BG are excellent. It could be a female icarus but one must see the underside of the forewing to be sure.
Thanks and best regards,

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-06-22 11:16]

Hello Livio,
excellent capture.Good sharpness and detail.Lovely colours,composition,POV/DOF.I like the blue hue on the body of the butterfly.
Best regards Siggi

Hi livio,

a nice presentation from this butterfly.
Good pov and dof.
Fine colours.


Wonderful picture! Looks like the lighting was bit on the top rather than the side, so there is deep shadow on the tip of the wings. What i usually do in such situations is to use a reflector to highlight the details in the shadow area. Hope this helps.

  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2009-06-23 1:09]

Ciao Livio !

Sono tornato!
Ottima presentazione!
Questa bella ed interessante farfalla che si introducono.
Splendid colori, perfetto contrasto.
Le mie congratulazioni.
Una bella settimana

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2009-06-23 4:31]

Bonjour Livio,
Une image très fine du petit Lycaenidae. L'arrière-plan neutre avec sa coloration subtile contribue à donner une touche poétique ton image. Bien vu!
Meilleures salutations

  • Great 
  • briGG Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 195 W: 2 N: 344] (1823)
  • [2009-06-23 8:56]

Ciao Livio,

l'ensemble de la photo est très bien composée et le BG est très réussi.
Très beaux détails avec une lumière bien gérée



ciao Livio!
bella presa di questo piccolo lycaenide nel suo ambiente naturale,buona la definizione,nonostante la parte in ombra delle ali e il cromatismo

buona settimana sERGIO

Hola Livio,
como es típico en tus fotografias, una toma de fuertes sensaciones por la luz y fuertes colores plasmados. En esta toma destacaria el preciso enfoque y un fondo acertado para el contraste.
Un saludos: Josep Ignasi.

Ciao Livio, bella macro di questa farfallina che si incontra quasi sempre nei miei prati, splendida nitidezza e magnififci detagli, ottioma messa a fuoco con piacevole sfondo omogeneo, bravo, ciao Silvio

Hi Livio,
A nice capture of this common blue. Very good light work and very good details. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2009-06-24 12:42]

Hi Livio!

This butterfly may be common and widespread, but this does not change anything to the fact that it is very beautiful. You have captured it in a perfect way, and I particularly like the pronounced contrast and the deep colours. The fine sharpness reveals rich details and your notes are very interesting.

Many thanks and kind regards


  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-06-24 14:18]

Ciao Livio,magari se aspettavi ancora un attimo la rotazione della farfallina sul fiore avresti avuto una luce migliore,anche questa e' buona ma e' un po' di ala e' rimasta al buio...perfetti invece i dettagli davvero al top! Complimenti e buon Giovedi',Luciano

  • Great 
  • Marx44 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 172 W: 97 N: 926] (3891)
  • [2009-06-26 13:28]

Hi Livio,
Great capture!
Excellent nuance, details and POV.
Well done!

Hi dear Livio ,
So nice macro with great details.
Nice sharpness and excellent BG.

Ciao Livio. Eccezionalmente dettagliata questa piccolina con colori ben saturati. Buonisimoanche lo sfondo.


Good details Livio, I especially like the BG here..
Well done!

  • Great 
  • dejo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 344 W: 51 N: 520] (2242)
  • [2009-07-12 0:33]

Hello Livio,
nice pic, nice pose captured & beazutiful colors!
best regards

Hello Livio !
Great picture of this cute butterfly ! The lights was quite harsh, it seems, but you have managed it very well - even if there are some over-exposed part on the white flowers, they are not disturbing at all and the result is wonderful. Excellent sharpbess and details, lovely colors (specially on the BG), beautiful composition and POV, and BG is nicely blurred to make the insect stand out. Very well done !

Ciao amico Livio,

This one looks very clear and well composed, truly outstanding quality. The lighting and focus both seem perfect, exceptional work my friend.
TFS and have a nice Week!


  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-04-17 17:56]

Hi Livio,
excellent composition. The sharpness is superb and the background is so well emphasis and the light hitting the frontal and the wings make it so pleasant and exciting.
Lovely view.


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