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UK Large Blue

UK Large Blue
Photo Information
Copyright: Alan Cassidy (accassidy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 162 W: 119 N: 596] (2454)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-06-30
Categories: Insects
Camera: Nikon D80, Sigma 180mm f/3.5 Macro EX DG HSM, Digital ISO 100, 72mm UV
Exposure: f/13.0, 1/60 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2010-06-30 9:56
Viewed: 3255
Points: 14
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Maculinea arion Large Blue

This is by no means the best picture I have posted, but it is the first time of submission for a British Large Blue and it shows one of very few opportunities that the species allowed me today on a 3-hour visit to the only public open site for this species in the UK.

Quite a good number of these blues was on the wing, with maybe 20 sightings during my stay. But the butterflies were seldom settling for any length of time, even in the cooler weather at 9a.m.

Below I have included some information from the UK Butterflies web site. Armed with this information, and with a few more days still left in the current season, perhaps one of my compatriots can get out and do something better.

"This butterfly was first recorded as a British species in 1795 and, even then, was considered a rare insect. Due to the loss of suitable habitat, the endemic subspecies of Large Blue became extinct in the British Isles in 1979, the last site being on Dartmoor in Devon.

This magnificent insect has since been “brought back from the dead” through the dedication of several conservation organisations and many individuals. After its extinction in the British Isles in 1979, the Large Blue became the subject of a highly-organised reintroduction programme, using stock from Sweden. The estimated number of adults flying in 2006 was 10,000 on 11 sites, which is the largest number seen in the British Isles for over 60 years. This is a magnificent example of conservation in action.

The successful reintroduction of the Large Blue is made even more remarkable when one considers its elaborate lifecycle. The larva is parasitic in that it feeds on the grubs of a red ant, Myrmica sabuleti, on whom its existence depends. Although the dependence on ants had been known for many years, the dependence on a single species of ant, in order to maintain a viable population, was unknown to conservationists for many years until Jeremy Thomas discovered the association in the late 1970s. Unfortunately, the discovery came too late to save the native population. Today's reintroduction efforts focus as much on the population of ants present, as they do on the Large Blue itself.

Anyone wanting to see this species in the British Isles should visit the open access site at Collard Hill in Somerset. A “Large Blue Hotline” is usually set up each year that provides an up-to-date status of the emergence at this site. Details are available on the Butterfly Conservation website. In addition, Butterfly Conservation members and Somerset Wildlife Trust members have the opportunity to visit a private site, Green Down, each year, although places are limited."

I have posted a workshop showing the underside.

Thanks for looking.

jlinaresp, Argus, horias, nagraj has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Argus: Habitat Destructionaccassidy 1 06-30 11:40
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • joska Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 806 W: 0 N: 4092] (22535)
  • [2010-06-30 10:14]

Hi Alan,
Very nice photo of this rare Butterfly by us, TFS!

Hello Alan friend,
I still tink 1/60s is'nt the better shot option for butterflies, but this time you've improved the results, and the details are better. Also this POV is very efficent and balance is correct. This a good macro for show us this kind of Lycaenid.
PS: Nice second shot in WS!
TFS, regards, Jesús

Ciao Alan, lovely butterfly on a busy BG, fine details, splendid colors and excellent sharpness, beautiful WS too, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-06-30 11:22]
  • [+]

Hello Alan,
This species is close to my heart!
It is still common on the limestone islands of Gotland and Öland, but it is now threatened on the mainland of Sweden because of habitat destruction.
The large Blue is protected because killing it is forbidden by law but its habitat where the host ant and wild thyme is found is being destroyed by housing. Now we rarely see it in our garden because of local housing developments. A priveledge of the past!
What is the use of protecting a species when its habitat is being destroyed?
Glad to hear that Swedish Large Blues are doing their bit in the UK and it looks like they have a more secure future than in my town area.
Nice capture of this rather worn specimen. Amazing how they vary in colours and spots.
Thanks and kind regards,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-06-30 12:22]

Hi Alan,as you wrote this isn' the best pic in sharpness but it's a very interesting contribution for TN.Very good colors in this difficult light and very interesting note too.Thanks for share,have a nice time,Luciano.

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2010-06-30 20:52]

Hi Alan
Great idea to present us this butterfly,because I see for the first time.I like your capture and your great and instructive note!

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2010-07-01 7:39]

The image may not be of high quality but you have captured the salient features of this species. Yes, I agree its the habitats that we should protect which will take care of all species. tfs.

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