Lorquin's Blue

Cupido lorquinii


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Cupido lorquinii

Male, Antequera, April 2019

Cupido lorquinii

Male, Antequera, April 2019

Cupido lorquinii

Male, Antequera, April 2019

Cupido lorquinii

Male, Antequera, April 2019

Cupido lorquinii

Male, Antequera, April 2019

Cupido lorquinii

Female, Antequera, April 2019

Cupido lorquinii

Male, Antequera, April 2019



Male, Portugal, June 1991

Cupido lorquinii distribution

Distribution

Lorquin's blue is found in North Africa and in the very south of Spain and Portugal, where it is widespread but rather local. It and Carswell's little blue, which I have yet to see, constitute the Iberian counterpart to the little blue, using the same foodplant but occupying rather more particular habitat. This is hot, dry, limestone grassland, often with rocks and low shrubs.

This species presents no identification difficulties. Although the male looks superficially like a mazarine blue, it is so much smaller - the size of a small little blue - that confusion is unlikely to arise. The bright blue upperside with broad margins, indenting along the veins, equally preclude confusion with other Cupido species. The female is very much more like a female little blue, and while there is no geographical overlap with this species there is overlap with Carswell's little blue. I think I would need to see a male to be confident of naming a population.

I first saw Lorquin's blue in Portugal, in June 1991 - the last picture above showing the single individual I saw then. In April 2019 I came across a rather extensive colony near Antequera in Spain, finding indivudals on two neighbouring hills. In almost all respects except the colour of the male the butterflies looked and behaved like little blues and after the excitement of finding them I soon began treating them like old friends! They treated me like an old friend too, readily sitting on my backpack to take minerals from my sweat. Like little blues they use kidney vetch as a foodplant. At the Antequera site all the kidney vetch I found was of the red form, rather than the more familiar yellow.

Lorquin's blue hibernates as a pupa.