Chequered Blue

Scolitantides orion


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Scolitantides orion

Male, Italy, May 2013



Italy, March 2012

Scolitantides orion

Male, Switzerland, April 2018 - form typical of the western end of the Rhône Valley

Scolitantides orion

Male, Switzerland, Male 2015 - form typical of the eastern end of the Rhône Valley



Italy, March 2012

Scolitantides orion

Male, Switzerland, May 2015

Scolitantides orion

Male, Italy, May 2013



Switzerland, May 2010



Switzerland, July 2010

Switzerland, April 2007

Switzerland, April 2007

Switzerland, April 2007

Switzerland, April 2007

Switzerland, April 2007

Scolitantides orion distribution

Distribution

This is another widely distributed but rather local butterfly. It favours hot, rocky, south-facing slopes with sedum, the larval foodplant and may be quite common where it is found. It frequently basks in the sun on flowers, foliage or on roads and tracks and is generally not difficult to approach.

In Switzerland, it is found principally along the Rhône Valley. In the west, near Martigny, it seems to be single-brooded, with an occasional second brood in exceptional years, and here the males are typically very dark. Further east, and in North Italy, where I also see it, it is double-brooded and the males are much brighter blue in both broods. The species cannot really be confused with anything else if a good view is had. It is larger than the other Scolitantides blues - the various species of baton blue - and has much bolder, more contrasting undersides with strong orange markings. That said, it is a rather dull species on the wing and can easily be overlooked by a casual walker as it flutters around a path or bounces off over a meadow.

The caterpillars eat various species of Sedum. They hibernate as pupae, under stones or in loose earth near the foodplants.