Small blue butterfly

The small blue butterfly laying eggs

As the name suggests, the small blue is the smallest native British butterfly. With a wing span of as little as 16mm it can be very hard to find.

On the Commons it lives in small colonies on patches of heavily grazed, sheltered grassland. It is sometimes seen on the quarries in Minchinhampton where its only foodplant can be found - the kidney vetch. Without this plant on the Commons, the small blue would also vanish.

Spotting the small blue

It's not only tiny, but the pale blue of its wings also gives it away. If you catch one resting, you can see that underneath its blue wings, the colour changes to brown.

The small blue is the smallest native British butterfly
The small blue is the smallest native British butterfly
The small blue is the smallest native British butterfly

The male is very territorial and can sometimes be seen chasing other males away.

Most colonies are small and consist of just 30 adults. Their numbers are falling all over the UK and are now a priority species for conservation. We're working hard to protect their habitat on the Commons so it doesn't disappear forever.