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Butterfly taxonomy (classification) The skippers The swallowtails The whites The hairstreaks, coppers and blues. Includes the Duke of Burgundy. The nymphalids, fritillaries and browns. Includes the Monarch.
Long-tailed Blue female - Beeding Cement Works, West Sussex 27-Sept-2013
Wingspan
Male: 32 - 34mm
Female: 36 - 42mm
Photo © Neil Hulme
Long-tailed Blue

Lampides boeticus
Number: 61.008
B&F No.: 1567
Family:Lycaenidae (Leach, 1815)
Subfamily:Polyommatinae (Swainson, 1827)
Tribe:Polyommatini (Swainson, 1827)
Genus:Lampides (Hübner, 1819)
Subgenus: 
Species:boeticus (Linnaeus, 1767)
Rare Migrant
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  Introduction  

The Long-tailed Blue is an extremely rare migrant to the British Isles. It was first recorded from Brighton in East Sussex, and Christchurch in Hampshire, in August 1859. By 1939 a mere 36 sightings had been recorded - mostly of individuals. Between 1940 and 1988 another 85 sightings were recorded. The only major immigration was in 1945, a good year for migrants in general, when there were 38 sightings. A recent immigrant was observed in Hampshire in 2006.

However, the most noticeable influx occurred in 2013 when Long-tailed Blue were seen at 9 sites in Devon, Hampshire, Sussex, Kent and Suffolk. Mating pairs, eggs and larvae were also found, confirming that the species had successfully bred and, on 8th September 2013, the first of the offspring emerged in Wiltshire and Kent. Sightings from other counties followed, with sightings continuing into October.

On the continent, this butterfly is considered a pest of pea crops, one of the larval foodplants, where it can cause considerable damage. This butterfly is continuously-brooded on the continent but is unable to survive our winters. Although this species is a rare migrant to the British Isles, it is one of the most-widely distributed Lycaenids in the world. The vast majority of records in the British Isles are from the south of England and the Channel Islands.

Lampides boeticus

This species was first defined in Linnaeus (1767) as shown here (type locality: Algeria).


Long-tailed Blue, Male, Kingsdown Leas, Kent 6 October 2013
Male
Photo © Pauline
Long-tailed-Blue-male- 5D39996b Kent 25 Sep 2013
Male Underside
Photo © IainLeach
Long-tailed Blue Female - Kingsdown Leas - 25-Sept-2013
Female
Photo © PhiliB
Long-tailed-Blue-female- 5D33010 Kent 25 Sep 2013
Female Underside
Photo © IainLeach

  Phenology  

The butterfly is rarely seen before the second half of July, with the peak of sightings being recorded at the end of August and into September.


The chart(s) above have been correlated with the phenology plot below, taken from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. The blue line gives average counts over the full data set from 1976 to date, and the red line gives the average for the last year.


  Habitat  

The adult butterfly is most-often seen flying around garden flowers, especially those which are potential foodplants. However, it may also be found on open downland.

  Larval Foodplants  

The primary larval foodplants are Bladder-senna (Colutea arborescens), Broad-leaved Everlasting-pea (Lathyrus latifolius), Broom (Cytisus scoparius) and Narrow-leaved Everlasting-pea (Lathyrus sylvestris). Mange-tout pea (Pisum sativum) is also used.

  Nectar Sources  

Description to be completed

  Imago  

The adult butterfly has a jerky and rapid flight that is very similar to a hairstreak, but flies closer to the ground. It is also a strong flyer, borne out by its ability to migrate over large expanses of land and water. This butterfly possesses a pair of "tails" that give this species its name, together with an eye spot where the tails meet the wings. These act to divert a predator, such as a bird, away from the essential body parts. When at rest, the butterfly will rotate the hindwings which causes the tails to move, diverting predators from the more-important parts of the body.


Long-Tailed Blue - imago - Thatcham - 10-Oct-05 [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
10-Oct-2005
Long-Tailed Blue - imago - Unknown location - Unknown date [Martin Jenkins]
Photo © Martin Jenkins
Long-tailed Blue - imago - Thatcham - 01-Sep-12-4
Photo © Pete Eeles
Long-tailed Blue female on Everlasting Pea - Pett, Nr Rye, East Sussex 9-Aug-2013 [Trevor Buttle]
Photo © Trevor Buttle
Sussex
09-Aug-2013
Long-tailed Blue, Male, Sandy Point, Hayling Island, Hampshire 18/08/2013
Photo © Pauline
Hampshire
18-Aug-2013
Long-tailed Blue, Male, Sandy Point, Hayling Island, Hampshire 18/08/2013
Photo © Pauline
Hampshire
18-Aug-2013
Long-tailed Blue ovipositing female 1 - Kingsdown Leas, Kent 19.8.13
Photo © Neil Hulme
Kent
19-Aug-2013
Long-tailed Blue ovipositing female 1 - Kingsdown Leas, Kent 19.8.13
Photo © Neil Hulme
Kent
19-Aug-2013
Long-tailed Blue female 1 - Kingsdown Leas, Kent 19.8.13
Photo © Neil Hulme
Kent
19-Aug-2013
Long-tailed Blue female 1 - Kingsdown Leas, Kent 19.8.13
Photo © Neil Hulme
Kent
19-Aug-2013
Long-tailed Blue male 1 - Kingsdown Leas, Kent 18-Aug-2013
Photo © Neil Hulme
Kent
18-Aug-2013
Long-tailed Blue male - Kingsdown Leas, Kent 19.8.13
Photo © Neil Hulme
Kent
19-Aug-2013
Long-tailed Blue male 3 - Kingsdown Leas, Kent 19.8.13
Photo © Neil Hulme
Kent
19-Aug-2013
Long-tailed Blue male 2 - Kingsdown Leas, Kent 19.8.13
Photo © Neil Hulme
Kent
19-Aug-2013
Long-tailed Blue male 4 - Kingsdown Leas, Kent 19.8.13
Photo © Neil Hulme
Kent
19-Aug-2013
Long-tailed Blue female - Kingsdown Leas, Kent 18-Sept-2013
Photo © Neil Hulme
Hatched in Kent
18-Sep-2013
Long-tailed Blue Male - Kingsdown Leas - 25-Sept-2013
Photo © PhiliB
Hatched in Kent
25-Sep-2013
Long-tailed Blue Female - Kingsdown Leas - 25-Sept-2013
Photo © PhiliB
Hatched in Kent
25-Sep-2013
Long-tailed Blue Female - Kingsdown Leas - 25-Sept-2013
Photo © PhiliB
Hatched in Kent
25-Sep-2013
Long-tailed Blue Female - Kingsdown Leas - 25-Sept-2013
Photo © PhiliB
Hatched in Kent
25-Sep-2013
Long-tailed Blue Male - Kingsdown Leas - 25-Sept-2013
Photo © PhiliB
Hatched in Kent
25-Sep-2013
Long-tailed Blue Female - Kingsdown Leas - 25-Sept-2013
Photo © PhiliB
Hatched in Kent
25-Sep-2013
Long-tailed Blue female - Beeding Cement Works, West Sussex 27-Sept-2013
Photo © Neil Hulme
Hatched in Sussex
27-Sep-2013
Long-tailed-Blue-male- 5D30171 Kent 25 Sep 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Hatched in Kent
Long-tailed-Blue-male- 5D30657 Kent 25 Sep 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Hatched in Kent
Long-tailed-Blue-male- 5D37865 Kent 25 Sep 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Hatched in Kent
Long-tailed-Blue-male- 5D39309 Kent 25 Sep 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Hatched in Kent
Long-tailed-Blue-male- 5D39817 Kent 25 Sep 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Hatched in Kent
Long-tailed-Blue-male- 5D39996b Kent 25 Sep 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Hatched in Kent
Long-tailed-Blue-female- 5D31100 Kent 25 Sep 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Hatched in Kent
Long-tailed-Blue-female- 5D31448 Kent 25 Sep 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Hatched in Kent
Long-tailed-Blue-female- 5D31822 Kent 25 Sep 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Hatched in Kent
Long-tailed-Blue-female- 5D32465 Kent 25 Sep 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Hatched in Kent
Long-tailed-Blue-female- 5D32850 Kent 25 Sep 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Hatched in Kent
Long-tailed-Blue-female- 5D33010 Kent 25 Sep 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Hatched in Kent
Long-tailed Blue, female, Sussex 12-Sept-2013 052-2 1
Photo © hideandseek
Hatched in Sussex
12-Sep-2013
Long-tailed Blue, mating, near Beachy Head, Sussex 2nd-Oct-2013
Photo © Butterflysaurus rex
Hatched in Sussex
Long-tailed Blue, mating - plus interloping male, near Beachy Head, Sussex 2nd-Oct-2013
Photo © Butterflysaurus rex
Hatched in Sussex
Long Tailed Blue Male - Kingsdown Leas, Kent 30/09/13
Photo © woodnymph
Hatched in Kent
Long-tailed Blue, male. near Beachy Head 5/10/2013.
Photo © badgerbob
Hatched in Sussex
05-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue male1 - Newhaven, Sussex 6-Oct-2013
Photo © Neil Hulme
Hatched in Sussex
06-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue male2 - Newhaven, Sussex 6-Oct-2013
Photo © Neil Hulme
Hatched in Sussex
06-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue male4 - Newhaven, Sussex 6-Oct-2013
Photo © Neil Hulme
Hatched in Sussex
06-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue male5 - Newhaven, Sussex 6-Oct-2013
Photo © Neil Hulme
Hatched in Sussex
06-Oct-2013
Long-Tailed Blue (male). Kingsdown Leas, Kent. 6/10/13
Photo © Testudo Man
Hatched in Kent
Long-tailed Blue female - near Reculver, Kent 8-Oct-2013
Photo © Hoggers
Hatched in Kent
08-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue pair - near Reculver, Kent 8-Oct-2013
Photo © Hoggers
Hatched in Kent
08-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue male, Southwick, Shoreham, West Sussex 12-Oct-2013
Photo © mud-puddling
Hatched in Sussex
12-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue male - Kingsdown Leas, Kent 30-Sept-2013
Photo © mud-puddling
Hatched in Kent
Long Tailed Blue, mating pair, near Reculver, Kent, 17th October 2013
Photo © Lee Hurrell
Hatched in Kent
17-Oct-2013
Long Tailed Blue, mating pair, near Reculver, Kent, 17th October 2013
Photo © Lee Hurrell
Hatched in Kent
17-Oct-2013
Long Tailed Blue, mating pair, near Reculver, Kent, 17th October 2013
Photo © Lee Hurrell
Hatched in Kent
17-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue pair - near Reculver, Kent 17-Oct-2013
Photo © Hoggers
Hatched in Kent
Long-tailed Blue pair - near Reculver, Kent 17-Oct-2013
Photo © Hoggers
Hatched in Kent
Long-tailed Blue female - Beeding Cement Works, West Sussex 27-Sept-2013
Photo © Neil Hulme
Hatched in Sussex
27-Sep-2013
Long-tailed Blue, Male, Kingsdown Leas, 24 September 2013
Photo © Pauline
Hatched in Kent
24-Sep-2013
Long-tailed Blue, Male, Kingsdown Leas, Kent 6 October 2013
Photo © Pauline
Hatched in Kent
06-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue, Male, Kingsdown Leas, Kent 6 October 2013
Photo © Pauline
Hatched in Kent
06-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue, Male, Kingsdown Leas, Kent 6 October 2013
Photo © Pauline
Hatched in Kent
06-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue, Male, Kingsdown Leas, Kent 6 October 2013
Photo © Pauline
Hatched in Kent
06-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue, Female, Kingsdown Leas, Kent 6 October 2013
Photo © Pauline
Hatched in kent
06-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue, Male, Kingsdown Leas, Kent 6 October 2013
Photo © Pauline
Hatched in kent
06-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue - female - Thatcham - 15-Oct-13 (1) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
15-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue - female - Thatcham - 16-Oct-13 (1) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
16-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue - female - Thatcham - 23-Oct-13 (9) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
23-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue - female - Thatcham - 24-Oct-13 (2) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
24-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue - male - Thatcham - 14-Oct-13 (1) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
14-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue - male - Thatcham - 14-Oct-13 (2) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
14-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue - male - Thatcham - 22-Oct-13 (1) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
22-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue - male - Thatcham - 22-Oct-13 (9) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
22-Oct-2013
Long-tailed Blue - male and female - Thatcham - 18-Oct-13 (1) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
18-Oct-2013

  Aberrations  

Description to be completed.

  Ovum  

This butterfly is known to have bred in the British Isles and 26 eggs were first found near Dorking in Surrey on 12th July 1952 from the flowers of Broad-leaved Everlasting-pea. The eggs hatch after around a week.


Long-Tailed Blue - ovum - Portugal - 05-Aug-11 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
Long-Tailed Blue - ovum - Portugal - 10-Aug-11 (2)
Photo © Pete Eeles
Long-Tailed Blue - ovum - Portugal - 10-Aug-11 (2)-2
Photo © Pete Eeles
Long-tailed Blue ovum on Everlasting Pea - Pett, Nr Rye, East Sussex 9-Aug-2013 [Ralph Hobbs]
Photo © Ralph Hobbs
Sussex
09-Aug-2013
Long-tailed Blue (ovum, shortly after emergence), Newhaven, East Sussex (20 August 2013)
Photo © Mark Colvin
Sussex

  Larva  

The woodlouse-shaped larva first feeds on the flowers of the foodplant, but eventually enters a pod where it feeds on the contents. This stage lasts between 3 and 4 weeks.


Long-Tailed Blue - larva - Thatcham - 29-Oct-09 (2) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles
29-Oct-2009
Long-Tailed Blue - larva - Thatcham - 29-Oct-09 (1) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles
29-Oct-2009
Long-Tailed Blue - larva - Thatcham - 03-Nov-09 (1) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles
03-Nov-2009
Long-Tailed Blue - larva - Thatcham - 29-Oct-09 (3) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles
29-Oct-2009

  Pupa  

The pupa is attached to withered leaves by a girdle. This stage lasts around 10 days.


Long-Tailed Blue - pupa - Thatcham - 09-Oct-05 (3) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
09-Oct-2005
Long-Tailed Blue - pupa - Thatcham - 09-Oct-05 [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
09-Oct-2005
Long-Tailed Blue - pupa - Thatcham - 15-Nov-09 (1) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles
15-Nov-2009
Long-tailed Blue - pupa - Thatcham - 22-Aug-12 (1) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles

  Similar Species  

No similar species found.

  Videos  

No videos are currently available for this species.

  Sites  

No sites found.

  Conservation Status  

No conservation action is relevant for this species.

  Links  

The following links provide additional information on this butterfly.

  References  

The species description provided here references the following publications:

ReferenceDetails
Linnaeus (1767) Linnaeus, C.: Systema Naturae. Edn.12. 1767.

  Copyright © Peter Eeles 2002-2014
All rights are reserved
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