Common Blue Butterfly
This Common Blue Butterfly was photographed in August (2014) in a disused limestone quarry in Kilkenny. The quarry, which is surrounded by 11 acres of wild meadow, has not been used in over 60 years. These meadows are populated by a host of wild flowers and are a haven for butterflies. The ‘Common Blue’ butterfly is the most common of the Blues found in Ireland. It has a wingspan of 29 – 35mm and it is tightly tied to dense stands of its food plants i.e., the Bird’s Foot Trefoil and the Common Restharrow. The male is a very attractive shiny blue, whereas the female is mainly brown with her underside being very decorative, with orange crescents and black spots. It is active in sunshine but during dull weather it rests on grass stems with its wings closed. The males fly around their host plants in order to find females. The caterpillars secrete nutrient-containing substances that attract ants and in turn, the ants protect the caterpillars from predators.