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Silver Studded Blue: 17 Facts You Won’t Believe

Interesting silver studded blue facts for kids

Lycaenidae is the second-largest family of butterflies, after Nymphalidae, with over 6,000 species whose distribution occurs worldwide. Approximately 30% of the recognized butterfly species belong to this family, which is further divided into seven subfamilies, including the coppers (Lycaenidae), the blues (Polyommatinae), the harvesters (Miletinae), and the hairstreaks (Theclinae). This article is about a very special butterfly and it will tell you everything you need to know about this butterfly, including its distribution, habitat, conservation status, life cycle, breeding colonies, feeding habits, similar species, diet, and life span!

The silver studded blue (Plebejus argus) is a beautiful small butterfly from the Lycaenidae family and is in the genus, Plebejus. This butterfly was first introduced by Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish naturalist in 1758. A male silver studded blue has bright blue wings, with a black border and white edges, wispy fringe, pearlescent silver spots on the hindwings, and spurs on the front legs. Female butterflies have a faded or more subdued coloration. They are mostly brown with red-orange metallic spots covering the hindwing. The underside of both sexes is identical with a dark gray-brown color and bands of black spots running along the edges of their wings. The caterpillar of the silver studded blue (P. argus) is green with dark brown stripes, and grows up to 0.5 in (1.3 cm) in length. The distribution and range of this butterfly occur across the Palearctic. They inhabit patchy grasslands, dense bushes, heathland, areas with limestone, and flowering plants. They form an interesting relationship with ants during the breeding season. The eggs laid on the ground by a female are protected by ants in exchange for the saccharine produced by glands on the larvae. Their habitats are used for both foraging and egg-laying, as the host plants are ubiquitous in all the environments they occupy.

Learn about some other arthropods from our purple emperor butterfly facts and painted lady butterfly facts pages.

Silver Studded Blue Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a silver studded blue?

The silver studded blue (Plebejus argus) is a beautiful butterfly belonging to the Animalia kingdom.

What class of animal does a silver studded blue belong to?

The silver studded blue (Plebejus argus) belongs to the Insecta class.

How many silver studded blues are there in the world?

The estimated total population size of silver studded blue butterflies is 100,000 pairs.

Where does a silver studded blue live?

The silver studded blue distribution occurs across central mainland Europe, England, and Wales. They can also be found in Asia. One specimen from Hokkaido, Japan was studied and observed to learn more about them. The specimen's underside and wings were comparatively pale.

What is a silver studded blue's habitat?

The silver studded blue (P. argus) habitat is quite extensive. They generally inhabit heathlands, because they are meet all the survival requirements of a male and female butterfly thanks to the burning, cutting, and other disruptions of mature heaths. These disruptions form a landscape with patches of bare ground. The host plants of a heathland include Ericaceae and Leguminosae which are less present in the limestone grassland environment. These host plants grow alongside grass, sedges, and thick bushes.

Who does the silver studded blue live with?

They are communal and tend to stay fairly close together in colonies of a few hundred, and occasionally several thousand individuals.

How long does a silver studded blue live?

Sliver studded blues have a poor life span and live up to three or four weeks.

How do they reproduce?

The silver-studded blue butterfly life cycle is divided into four main stages. These are egg, larva, pupa, and adult. They breed in tight colonies and where they deposit their eggs depends on the environment. In heathland, they lay their eggs at the base of flowering plants like cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix), common heather (Calluna vulgaris), bell heather (Erica cinerea), and common gorse (Ulex europaeus). In moss-covered lands, they tend to lay their eggs on the underside of the fronds of the Bracken fern. This fern appears to be preferential for oviposition because they attract ants, with whom they form a mutual give-and-take relationship. A female lays her eggs in locations with strong pheromonal traces left by ants.

From the time of oviposition to hatching, egg guarding is primarily carried out by the Lasius niger and Lasius alienus ants. They protect the eggs from predation and parasitism by other organisms. The ants feed on a saccharine secretion produced by glands on the larvae, highlighting the give and take relationship. The young caterpillar spends the day inside ant nests and climbs out at night to feed on the host plant especially during the summers to avoid hot temperatures, and predation from badgers, snakes, birds, and other ground-dwelling animals. An adult silver studded blue (P. argus) finally emerges in June or early July and engages in flight shortly after. The emergence of this butterfly depends on its sex, as male butterflies emerge four to nine days earlier than female butterflies. They have only one brood in the northern parts of their range.

What is their conservation status?

In Central England, the silver studded blue (P. argus) experienced a severe decline in population size due to habitat loss and fragmentation during the 19th and 20th centuries. Therefore, the Butterfly Conservation, a British charity devoted to saving butterflies, moths, and their habitats throughout the UK, has classified the silver studded blue as a Priority Species and is protected under Schedule 5 of the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act. It is considered to be rare or Endangered in northern United Kingdom and is primarily found in the southern and western portions of England and Wales. The IUNC Red List of Threatened Species has Not Evaluated this species.

Silver Studded Blue Fun Facts

What does the silver studded blue look like?

The silver studded blue is a butterfly, with shiny scales found on the underside of the wings. It has a small form and brown upperparts. In male individuals, the wings are dark blue with light blue reflective marginal spots, a dark border, and light blue studs, dark brown-gray underside. Whereas a female is dark brown above, with orange-red spots on the upper side of the hindwing and the hindwing beneath bears paler spots. Male butterflies are similar to the common blue but lack green-yellow spots. The larva has a slightly compressed and flattened body that is pale green-purplish, and is marked on each side by a white stripe, followed by a pinkish band blending into the pale green.

Fun facts about the silver studded blue.

How cute are they?

They are more beautiful than cute. Both male and female butterflies have stunning colors and patterns!

How do they communicate?

They communicate with one another mostly through chemical cues and scents. The males produce chemicals called pheromones to attract females.

How big is a silver studded blue?

A silver studded blue can grow up to 2.3-4.3 in (6-11 cm) in size. Hercules beetles and silver studded blues are similar in size!

How fast can a silver studded blue fly?

The flying speed is unknown but individuals can travel a maximum of 164 ft (50 m).

How much does a silver studded blue weigh?

A silver studded blue weighs less than 1 oz (28 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for male and female members of this species.

What would you call a baby silver studded blue?

A baby silver studded blue is called a caterpillar.

What do they eat?

Young larvae have a simple diet and feed on the tenderest parts of their foodplant, including young shoots, buds, and flowers. The only other thing they require is the black ant Lasius niger for protection. Larvae of different subspecies of the silver studded blue (P. argus) choose different host plants found in a heathland. Adult silver studded blue (P. argus) butterflies feed on nectar available in their environment. On heathland, they tend to feast on heather (Calluna vulgaris) and bell heather (Erica cinerea), while on calcareous sites, they eat Lotus corniculatus, Helianthemum nummularium, and Hippocrepis comosa.

They are often preyed upon by chameleons.

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

These caterpillars make good pets for a short time (two to three weeks), however, adult butterflies do not make good pets as they need space to fly and feed on fresh nectar from flowers of a specific kind.

Did you know...

Their subspecies are found in north-western Spain, and Asia Minor.

The rarest butterfly in England is the heath fritillary.

The silver studded blue aberration or wing patterns depend on its genetics and the environment's condition.

How did silver studded blue get its name?

The silver studded blue got its name from the metallic silver spots on its hindwing, and has a wingspan of 1.2-1.4 in (3.2–3.8 cm)!

What is the difference between silver studded blue vs Mazarine blue?

The Mazarine blue unlike the silver studded blue butterfly does not have any silver or red spots on its wings.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these cabbage white butterfly facts and queen butterfly facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our free printable silver studded blue coloring pages.

Second image by Peter Nijland

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