Common blue butterfly

David Chapman

Writer and photographer David Chapman introduces the common blue butterfly, and tells us how to spot it.

The common blue butterfly was named because the upper wings of the male are bright blue, but females are basically brown with a light dusting of blue. 

Both sexes are brown underneath but with a number of white-ringed black spots across the wing and an arc of orange spots situated in black crescents, known as lunules, around the edge of the wing.

This species inhabits grassland where there are wildflowers, so if you have an area where you leave the grass to grow for the summer then you may see common blue butterflies. 

Its caterpillars feed on low growing leguminous plants, the best species to grow - if you wish to encourage them - include the bird's foot trefoil, clover and restharrow. 

The common blue butterfly is a very active insect when it is warm and the sun is shining but because of its small size it can be difficult to pick out. 

The trick to seeing one properly is to watch where they are active during the day and return to have a look at dusk or dawn. When the temperatures are lower the butterflies rest by clinging to grass stems, but even then, with their wings closed, they can be difficult to spot until you get your eye in.

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