Some butterflies can be hard to identify at first sight! Can you tell from this image which species this is? You can get some help by visiting the Butterfly Conservation website or app. When I first spotted this small butterfly flitting around the grasses and wild flowers, at Papercourt Meadows, I suspected it was a female common blue. Many female Lycaenidae (blues and coppers) have a similar appearance, especially the open wings, and this can make identification difficult in the field. You really need to see some of the close-up details and view the butterfly from different angles. Once I got the side view I was able to confirm that it is, in fact, a brown argus. Of course a brown argus is technically still a blue! Confused yet?
Key identifying spots that are present in the common blue, but missing in the brown argus, are circled in the guide image above. In the hindwing of the brown argus, the two spots that are circled are closer together than on the blue, almost a figure of eight shape. Another key identification help with this one is that the abdomen (body shape), viewed from above of the argus, is long and thin. This means that it isn’t carrying any eggs and can therefore only be identified as a male brown argus!
My featured image today is a Scarlet Swallowtail showing off for the cameras and it won last years’ Butterfly Photography Competition. I’m utterly fascinated with butterflies and every year I spend much of the Winter in The Glasshouse feeding my obsession.
It’s also a fantastic time of year for birdwatching at Wisley so be ready for all things winged over the next two months!
I’ve created an Ultimate Spotter Guide with some of my favourite images from last years event. Wherever possible I’ve included images of the butterfly’s under and upper-sides. There are only two butterflies that I’m missing, The King Swallowtail and Big Billy.