Lampides boeticus (10)
|Lampides boeticus (Linnaeus, 1767)|
Common names: peablue, pea blue,long-tailed blue
Lampides boeticus is a very common lycaenid of cretan fauna. The larvae feed on flowers, seeds and pods of many Fabaceae species, including Medicago, Crotalaria, Polygala, Sutherlandia, Dolichos, Cytisus, Spartium and Lathyrus species. It has also been recorded on Crotolaria pallida.The larva has a honey gland on the 7th abdominal segment which attracts certain ant species which milk it for the secretion. The presence of the ants is undoubtedly beneficial in providing a degree of protection against parasitoid wasps and flies. The larva is cannibalistic at all stages of its life, with the result that only one larva survives on each plant.
The antennae-like "tails" on the hindwings, together with the orange, silver and black "eyespot" at the tornus act together to create the impression of a false head, and divert the attention of birds away from the body. When the butterfly first settles it immediately turns around, and when it is feeding it often walks about in tight circles, thus a predator is never quite sure which direction it is facing. It also oscillates its hindwings causing the tails to wiggle like antennae. This reinforces the back-to-front illusion, and probably causes attacking birds to aim at the tail instead of the head of the butterfly, enabling it to escape relatively unharmed, leaving the bird with nothing but a piece of detached wing in its beaks.