You are here

Chalkhill Blue

Click the pic!

To aid users of mobile devices as well as those with a mouse or laptop finger pad this site uses a simple image-based menu system. Virtually every picture you see (images and photos) are links to more information arranged in a sort of top-down structure. See an image, click or tap on it to open a new page.


A butterfly that prefers sunny chalk and limestone hillsides. The males are quite large and a silvery-blue colouring with black markings.


 

Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

Chalkhill Blue: my number one

Post date: Wednesday, 17 June, 2015 - 00:00

Sadly the chalkhill blue (Lysandra coridon) has declined significantly in recent years as its preferred habitat of sunny chalk and limestone hillsides have been lost to agriculture. Where it does occur, however, it can be plentiful during the month of August.

The males are seen more often than the females and are likely to be found feeding in small groups on purple flowers such as knapweed and thistles. The males are unmistakable being quite large and a silvery-blue colouring with black markings. The females are much more secretive and are brown with a few orange dots along the edges of the wings.

The chalkhill blue is very much a species of southern England and in Dorset they can be seen on Fontmell Down in big numbers as well as on Bindon Hill near Lulworth. I try not to have favourites but I have to confess that the chalkhill blue is my number one butterfly, a true beauty.


 

Chalkhill Blue in Dorset: what your tweets tell us ...

Post date: Saturday, 27 April, 2019 - 21:12

Yes, the chalkhill blue is only found on chalk hills; well, include limestone hills as well as they are both calcareous in their formation. I confess that although I try not to have 'favourites' the chalkhill blue to me is a most beautiful insect and I never tire of seeing them but sadly they have declined, like many other species, due to habitat loss. Much chalk grassland was ploughed for crops during the second world war and then the coming of myxomatosis in the rabbit population in the 1950s saw less grazing of grasses to provide the short sward this butterfly needs. Nevertheless there are a number of populations throughout Dorset although some are small and struggling to survive. They need horseshoe vetch for their larvae to feed on and this is quite widespread in the county so given that the right conservation measures are in place hopefully the chalkhill blue is safe.

The chalkhill blue has a single brood each summer and they can be seen from mid-July through until early September. We only have thirteen reports for 2017 and 2018 in the Nature of Dorset database which is not much to work on but there are reports from week 27, on schedule in the middle of July, and then almost continuously until week 38 in early September; textbook stuff!

If you know a bit about the geology of Dorset then the distribution map will mean something to you as the bulk of sites where the chalkhill blue can be found lie along the chalk ridge from around Maiden Newton to Shaftesbury. There is a strong population on Portland, especially in Tout Quarry where many of the reports come from. They can also be found on the Purbeck coast around Lulworth, especially on Bindon Hill. 


 

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Chalkhill Blue
Scientific Name Lysandra coridon
Interest Level
3
Species Family Lycaenid Butterflies (Blues and Hairstreaks)
Preferred Environment
Look for
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species