Adonis blue butterfly

The adonis blue butterfly on a carline thistle

Found in warm, sheltered spots on the Commons, the adonis blue is a beautiful butterfly. It's one of the most characteristic of unimproved chalk downlands.

Preferring to live on the steep, south-facing slopes that have been grazed by the cattle, they can be seen flying low over the short grass. The adonis blue has two broods, the first emerging in spring and the second in August.

The male is bright sky blue while the female is a rich chocolate brown colour with some blue veins and orange spots at the edge of her wings.

The male adonis blue butterfly
The male adonis blue butterfly
The male adonis blue butterfly

Lifecycle

The adonis blue lays its eggs under the leaves of the horseshoe vetch plant in May- June and August-September.The caterpillars can be seen on the Commons during April and late July as they search for ants to 'milk' their sugary secretions.

Soon after, the caterpillar turns into a chrysalis, were it's buried by ants. For the next three weeks the ants are busy constantly attended to it and protecting it from predators. 

Like many other species of butterflies, the adonis blue has undergone a major decline but with our help, it's thriving on the Commons.