Holly Blue is essentially a southern species in Cumbria but
there is no real reason why it should not turn up further
north in the county. Indeed, in recent years it has been increasingly
reported from the Carlisle area. It is a species which seems
to be found most easily at old established sites, such as
churchyards, gardens with mature trees and old woods.
is the first blue butterfly to be on the wing in the spring,
from early April, but only for three weeks or so. At this
time it is most likely to be found around Holly trees.
second brood puts in an appearance about the second week of
August but is more likely to be found around Ivy at this time
of the year. The adults don't seem to be about for more than
a couple of weeks at this time of year.
weather in September is needed, as the egg must hatch and
the larvae develop fully
in a month or so, to spend the winter in the chrysalis stage.
sexes have a light blue underside, speckled with black. Females
are delightful, with a lovely intense lilac-blue when fresh
with contrasting black wing tips - the black is usually more
extensive in the second brood (see right).
of Holly Blues fluctuate from year to year, being higher the
year following a good summer, but can be reduced by attacks
on their caterpillars of a small parasitic wasp, which has
no other host than the Holly Blue.