Plebejus argus

Posted by Johan Dierckx (Wijnegem, Belgium) on 12 July 2010 in Animal & Insect and Portfolio.

Plebejus argus (Silver-studded Blue / Heideblauwtje) is a typical butterfly from the Lycaenidae-family to be found on wet heathland. They have a wide variety of foodplants typical for this habitat: Heather (Calluna vulgaris), Bell Heather (Erica cinerea) and Cross-leaved Heath (Erica tetralix). The dutch name of the species is given according to the relationship with the habitat (heide = heath) while the english name is due to the silvery blue metallic spots on the underside hind wings. These can in the image clearly be seen on the female (uppermost specimen).

Eggs are laid on or near the ground, often near Ants nests. The larvae have a close relationship with ants and produce a honeydew-like liquid to feed them. In return the ants will protect the larvae from predators. Ants have been seen carrying the larvae. Pupation takes near and often inside ant nests where they continue to secrete Honey Dew until the Butterfly emerges.

Image: Kalmthout (BE) - 07/07/2010

© Johan Dierckx

The photos on this site are copyrighted, which prohibits anyone to use them to sell, give away, use in email or newsgroups, use in a homepage or otherwise showing to the public without my explicit, prior, written permission. Please feel free to use the "contact"-button below to contact me with any questions.

All species are photographed in their natural habitat, without cutting or capturing them, and with maximal respect and the least possible disturbance to the environment.

(To see species in the same taxonomic rank (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus), please use the tags provided with the image. The last tag is the Iso-code for the country where the image was taken. Image-date in DD/MM/YYYY format.)

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daniela scharnowski from Berlin, Germany

Great presenation, Mr Voyeur! They got so sweet noses and antennas. This way of reproduction reminds me so much of the pushmi-pullyu (push-me-pull-you) from Dr Dolittle..., you know, the animal with a head on each end. Thank god humans do it the other way round ;D

12 Jul 2010 6:51am

@daniela scharnowski: I know, i should have rated this 18+ :p But be honest - everyone should take this opportunity to make images... And besides .. I thank god more we humans don't have to do this on a tiny blade of grass ..:p

♏arleen from Doesburg, Netherlands

Fabeltastische compositie van deze twee schoonheden! Prachtig scherp ook->5*

12 Jul 2010 9:57am

@♏arleen: Van harte dank daarvoor, Marleen. Deze twee zaten niet iets stiller dan de enkelingen die nog op zoek waren naar een partner :-)

chen del mundo from manila, Philippines

fantastic macro, great framing and compo, good find, = )

12 Jul 2010 1:55pm

@chen del mundo: Thank you very much for your visit and comment.

Julie Brown from Indianapolis, United States

Beautiful capture Johan. Nice composition with very sharp focus throughout. Your background is flawless-again! The Lycaenidae have an interesting biology. I heard an excellent speaker from Harvard University, Naomi Pierce, discuss her research with blue butterfly larvae and ants at the North American Butterfly Association meeting in June of 2006. She was very engaging and made her work really relevant for the lay audience. Here is the link to her web page:

12 Jul 2010 3:34pm

@Julie Brown: Thank you very much for sending that link. I'll check this out tomorrow... (too late right now and I have some sleep to catch up).

marc battault from clermont ferrand, France

magnifique detail et netteté ,on croirait un reflet ,superbe lumiere !!
un must de la macro !
5 etoiles !
amitiés !!

12 Jul 2010 3:57pm

@marc battault: thank you very much for this kind comment, Marc. I'm very glad you like this image this much.
Kind regards.

Julie from Le Cannet des Maures, France

Une image vraiment superbe

12 Jul 2010 5:52pm

@Julie: Thank you very much, Julie. It was the first time i actually saw this species in real. Had to take the opportunity to get my images right.

Veronique from Sarrouilles, France

excellent sharpness (netteté) and you were very lucky to find them and realize such a picture

13 Jul 2010 10:37am

@Veronique: Thank you very much, Véronique.

Daniel from Kenmare, United States

great macro.

13 Jul 2010 1:10pm

@Daniel: Thank you very much, Daniel.

Demo from Villeneuve d, France

fantastic details!!
beautiful capture of there tow argus

14 Jul 2010 9:59pm

@Demo: Thank you very much for your visit and kind comment.

Piia from Helsinki, Finland

This is really gorgeous! Well done. :)

15 Jul 2010 9:54am

@Piia: Thank you very much for your visit and kind comment, Piia. Glad you like it.

Monique from Koh Samui, Thailand

Prachtige foto van dit koppeltje, zo mooi kleurrijk en allebei precies in de scherpte!

17 Jul 2010 10:01am

@Monique: Ik ben er zelf ook wel best tevreden mee :-) Het was een soort die ik tot hiertoe nog niet had kunnen fotograferen.

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

No privacy! ;) Excellent shot, a 10 for me. The symbiosis of the larva and ants too is very interesting.

25 Jul 2010 9:16pm

@Dutçh: No privacy? Of course not : this was "X in public places" ! ;-)
I always try to learn something about the ecology on the species I find... sometimes these storys are amazing...

Canon EOS 400D
1/200 second
ISO 200
150 mm