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Common Restharrow / ononis repens. Sizewell, Suffolk. 15/08/20.

 

'GREASY.'

 

Now that I've seen this image on the computer screen, I realise the need for another session photographing this common, but beautiful wild plant. The image doesn't do justice to the fabulous flower structure. I've included it only because it shows the profusion of tiny glandular hairs on the leaves. The leaves are described as 'greasy' because of them.

 

BEST VIEWED LARGE.

Despite its name the Common Blue can no longer be considered a common butterfly in the UK. It still remains the most widespread 'blue', but many colonies in marginal habitats such as woodland rides and farmland have declined or been lost. The species still occurs in moderate numbers on chalk or limestone grasslands, but even in these habitats most colonies nowadays comprise of no more than a few dozen individuals.

 

Males are very consistent in appearance, the uppersides being bright violet-blue with unchequered white fringes. Females vary considerably - they always have orange submarginal lunules, but some are almost devoid of blue and strongly resemble the Brown Argus, while others are heavily dusted with blue scales. The magnificent Scottish race is known as marsicolore - its upperside is almost entirely deep violet blue, and the orange lunules are much enlarged.

 

The undersides of both sexes of Common Blue are marked with numerous white-ringed black spots and orange crescents. Sometimes aberrant forms occur in which the black spots are elongated into a series of short bars. Other rare forms occur in which the spots are reduced in size, or are entirely absent. In all forms the male has a greyish ground colour with bluish scales around the base of the wings. Females instead have greenish scales at the wing bases, and a pale brown ground colour.

 

This species is found right across Europe from northern Scandinavia to the smallest islands of the Mediterranean. Beyond Europe, its range extends from the Middle East across temperate Asia to northern China. It also occurs in north Africa and the Canary Islands.

 

The butterfly is found throughout England, Scotland and Wales at sites where bird's foot trefoil grows in profusion. It is most abundant on chalk or limestone grassland but also occurs in lesser numbers in woodland clearings, meadows, heathlands, sand dunes, along railway embankments, riverbanks and undercliffs. Numbers are usually highest on south facing hillsides, but populations at these sites are prone to crash in hot dry summers, resulting in poor numbers the following spring.

In Europe the Common Blue occurs in almost all habitats - I have found it on mountains at altitudes up to 2700m, and in numerous other habitats including arid scrubland, glades in pinewoods, and on freshwater marshland.

 

In southern Britain there are usually 2 generations per year. The first brood emerges in May and flies until mid June. The second brood emerges in late July or early August and remains on the wing until mid September or sometimes into early October. There may be a partial third brood at certain particularly warm sites. In the north of Britain there is often just a single brood, but this depends very much upon locality and weather conditions.

The circular, flattened white eggs are usually laid on the upper surface of terminal leaves of bird's foot trefoil Lotus corniculatus, but greater bird's foot trefoil Lotus uliginosus, restharrow Ononis repens, black medick Medicago lupulina and other leguminous herbs are also used.

The larvae are pale green in colour, and feed diurnally. Like most Lycaenid species they are often attended by ants, which milk them for sugary secretions. The larvae in exchange are protected by the ants from predatory insects. The relationship is not symbiotic however: captive larvae that are prevented from making contact with ants survive well and produce healthy adult butterflies. Larvae of the 1st brood feed up quickly and produce butterflies in late summer. Those of the 2nd & 3rd broods ( where they occur ) hibernate when small and reawaken in March to resume feeding.

The chrysalis is pale green, with the wing cases tinged with buff. The shed larval skin remains attached to the tip of the abdomen. Ants are attracted to the newly formed chrysalis ( probably by pheromones ) and quickly cover it with particles of soil and leaf litter. The pupal stage lasts for about 2 weeks.

 

In weak sunlit conditions males often bask on low herbage, with wings held half open. In overcast but warm conditions they sometimes bask with wings fully outspread. When the weather is warm and sunny they fly actively from flower to flower, nectaring in spring at bird's foot trefoil, buttercup, daisy, black medick, hop trefoil, hoary plantain, speedwell, milkwort, forget-me-not and comfrey. Summer brood icarus favour fleabane, ox-eye daisy and marjoram.

When the sexes meet copulation occurs immediately without any form of courtship ritual. Mated pairs often sit in prominent positions on grass-heads or on flowerheads.

Both sexes roost overnight on grass heads, facing head-downwards, often in groups of up to 4 or 5 individuals. Roosting at the top of the grasses is an effective survival strategy, keeping them out of reach of mice and other nocturnal predators.

 

For more information, please visit www.learnaboutbutterflies.com/Britain%20-%20Polyommatus%2...

 

Grows in abundance on the cliffs at the Isle of Whithorn.

Thank you to Peter for correct ID.

aka crescent plume! Took me a while to find the ID for this one, although it ought to have been easy, being as it's on it's food plant - restharrow!

Par Sands - Cornwall (May 19)

Spend ages scouring the restharrow for the Stilt bug - Gampsocoris punctipes - but failed miserably!

Did see squillions of this little Miridae though!

These were taken at Talacre, but saw plenty at Ynyslas the next day too!

Pic below viewable large

Common Restharrow - Ononis repens with assorted stones, shells, seaweed and snail.

Common Restharrow at Wilford Claypit Nature Reserve, Nottingham

Taken at the Marsh community garden in Romney marsh Kent.

 

I love photographing butterfly's however as I often use a macro lens I find that these are quite difficult to get sharp as they have quite a large wing surface and I personally find it a challenge to gain enough depth of field for this reason :)

 

Common Blue (Polyommatus Icarus)

 

Appearance, behaviour and distribution

Male upper sides are an iridescent lilac blue with a thin black border. Females are brown above with a row of red spots along the edges and usually some blue at the base of the wings; the upper side may be mostly blue, especially in Ireland and Scotland, but it always has red spots. Undersides have a greyish ground colour in the males and a more brownish in the females.

 

Both sexes have a row of red spots along the edge of the hindwings and extending onto the forewings, though they are generally fainter there, particularly in the males, where they are sometimes missing altogether. There are about a dozen black-centered white spots on the hindwings, nine on the forewings.

 

These usually include one in the middle of the forewing cell, absent in Chapman's and Escher's Blues.The white fringe on the outer edge of the wings is not crossed with black lines, as it is in the Chalkhill and Adonis Blues.

 

The Common Blue is Britain's (and probably Europe's) most common and most widespread blue, found as far north as Orkney and on most of the Outer Hebrides.

 

Males are often very obvious as they defend territories against rivals and search out the more reclusive females. A range of grassland habitats are used: meadows, coastal dunes, woodland clearings and also many man-made habitats, anywhere their food plants are found.

 

Recently, this butterfly was discovered in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada by Ara Sarafian, an amateur entomologist who observed the butterfly from 2005 to 2008. He contacted the Canadian National Collection of Insects in Ottawa where the butterfly was identified as P. icarus, a new alien butterfly to Canada and to North America. The butterfly seems to be well established and is extending its range from year to year.

[edit]Lifecycle and food plants

The main food plant on most sites is Bird's foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus). Others used include Black Medick Medicago lupulina, Common Restharrow (Ononis repens), White Clover (Trifolium repens) and Lesser Trefoil (Trifolium dubium). Eggs are laid singly on young shoots of the food plant.

 

The caterpillar is small, pale green with yellow stripes and, as usual with lycid larvae, rather slug-like. Hibernation occurs as a half grown larvae. They are attractive to ants, but not as much as some other species of blues.

 

The chrysalis is olive green/brown and formed on the ground, where it is attended by ants, which will often take it into their nests. The larva creates a substance called honeydew, which the ants eat while the butterfly lives in the ant hill.

 

In the south of Britain, there are two broods a year, flying in May and June and again in August and September. Northern England has one brood, flying between June and September. In a year with a long warm season, there is sometimes a partial third brood in the south flying into October.

 

*Wiki

Nope, the air was summer fresh as I hiked the very dry Waterleidingduinen south of Zandvoort aan Zee. I took a rest next to a small twining of Rest Harrow, Ononis repens, and dozed a bit in the Welcome Sun after the stiff chilly breeze from the North Sea.

Nope, I wasn't woken from my reveries by the purported stink of Ononis, said to be strongly 'goat-like'. But a snort or some other animal sound brought me to sit up. And this is what I saw: a herd or gaggle or whatchamacallit of Fallow Deer, Dama dama, guardedly averting their eyes from fawn-naked Yours Truly.

 

www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/species.php?species=icarus

  

Superfamily: Papilionoidea

 

Family: Lycaenidae

 

Subfamily: Lycaeninae

 

Genus: Polyommatus

 

Subgenus:

Species: icarus (Rottemburg, 1775)

 

Subspecies: icarus (Rottemburg, 1775)

mariscolore (Kane, 1893)

  

Wingspan

29 - 36mm

  

Introduction

  

Living up to its name, this butterfly is the commonest blue found in the British Isles. While the male has bright blue uppersides, the female is primarily brown, with a highly variable amount of blue. This is the most widespread Lycaenid found in the British Isles and can be found almost anywhere, including Orkney. It is absent, however, from Shetland and the mountainous areas of Wales and Scotland. This butterfly forms reasonably discrete colonies measured in tens or hundreds, with individuals occasionally wandering some distance.

  

Subspecies: Polyommatus icarus icarus

  

The nominate subspecies was first defined in Rottemburg (1775) as shown here (type locality: Germany). In the British Isles it is found throughout England, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. It may also be found in some parts Ireland, although there is some confusion regarding its status, as discussed under the subspecies mariscolore.

  

Subspecies: Polyommatus icarus mariscolore

  

This subspecies was first defined in Kane (1893) as shown here (type locality: Ireland). The distribution of the subspecies mariscolore is a confusing one. Nash (2012) suggests that both mariscolore and icarus are found in Ireland, Riley (2007) suggests that mariscolore is the only subspecies found in Ireland and Thomas & Lewington (2010) suggests that mariscolore is found both in Ireland and in north-western Scotland. It is certainly true that not all Irish Common Blues conform to the description of mariscolore. Specifically, mariscolore is characterised by the amount of blue in the female, but many female Irish Common Blues are brown with a variable amount of blue. The subspecies mariscolore differs from the subspecies icarus as follows:

 

1. Generally larger in size, especially the female.

 

2. The upperside of the female has extensive patches of blue, with large and bright orange marginal spots.

  

Polyommatus icarus mariscolore (Kane, 1893)

  

The Irish butterfly usually considerably exceeds in size that of England, varying from about 1 inch 2 lines to 1.5 inches in the June emergence; but the individuals of the second emergence are much smaller, and generally conform much more nearly to the usual English type in both sexes. Mr. South notes that the Irish and Scotch icarus are similarly characterised by their large size, and the brilliant blue of the female bordered with bright orange marginal ocelli.

 

The female offers the most conspicuous divergence from the normal English and Continental type, in which the basal half only is dusted with blue scales, the brown of the upper side being widely replaced by a violet or occasionally wholly by the bright blue of L. bellargus. These forms are not uncommon in Ireland, in Galway, Sligo, Donegal, Antrim, Down, Westmeath, Waterford, &c., and are accompanied by a series (often almost confluent) of very bright orange peacock-eye markings on the outer margins of all wings, so that some specimens (if not too brilliant) would pass muster as the var. ceronus of L. bellargus (fig. 12); another most interesting testimony to the genetic affinities of this species.

 

It may be that the acquisition of more brilliant colours in the female may be of advantage under less sunny skies, where the sun-loving Rhopalocera have less opportunities of selecting their mates, and cannot afford to indulge in long engagements.

  

Phenology

  

This species has 2 broods in the southern counties of England, and 1 brood further north. There may be a 3rd brood in favourable years. Time of emergence is highly variable. In good years, adults may be seen as early as the middle of May on more southerly sites. These peak at the end of May, giving rise to a second generation that emerges in the second half of July, peaking in the middle of August. Colonies in northern England and Scotland typically have a single brood that emerges in June, reaching a peak in July.

  

Habitat

  

This species is found in a wide variety of habitats, including unimproved grassland such as roadside verges and waste ground, downland, woodland clearings, heathland and even sand dunes.

  

Larval Foodplants

  

The primary larval foodplant is Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus). Black Medick (Medicago lupulina), Common Restharrow (Ononis repens), Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus pedunculatus), Lesser Trefoil (Trifolium dubium) and White Clover (Trifolium repens) are also used.

  

Nectar Sources

  

Adults feed primarily on Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), Bugle (Ajuga reptans), Carline Thistle (Carlina vulgaris), Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica), Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Knapweeds (Centaurea spp.), Marjoram (Origanum vulgare), Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), Thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.), Thyme (Thymus polytrichus), Vetches (Vicia spp.) and White Clover (Trifolium repens).

  

Imago

  

This species is most active in sunshine and is a frequent visitor to flowers. Males are the more active of the two sexes and set up territories which they patrol in search of females. The female is less conspicuous, spending most of her time nectaring, resting and egg-laying. When egg-laying, the female makes slow flights, low over the ground, searching out suitable foodplants on which to lay. When a suitable plant is located, a single egg is laid on the upperside of a young leaf.

  

In dull weather this species roosts head down on a grass stem. As for similar species, such as the Brown Argus, this species roosts communally at night, with several individuals occasionally found roosting on the same grass stem.

  

Larva

  

The larva emerges after a week or two. On emerging from the egg the larva moves to the underside of the leaf, where it feeds, by day, on the lower surface without breaking through the upper leaf surface. This leaves characteristic blotches on the foodplant that can give away the presence of a larva. More mature larvae feed more extensively on the leaves. Those larvae that overwinter do so in leaf litter at the base of the foodplant, changing from green to olive, resuming their green colouring in the spring.

  

Like many other species of blue, the larva is attractive to ants, although only in its last instar. There are 4 moults in total. If the larva does not overwinter, then this stage lasts around 6 weeks.

  

Pupa

  

The pupa is formed on the ground or, occasionally, at the base of the foodplant, under a few silk strands. The pupa is attractive to ants which may bury it in earth. This stage lasts around 2 weeks.

 

Wild flowers of the sand dunes, Kenfig NNR, S. Wales

www.friendsofnorthwirralcoastalpark.co.uk/index.php?optio...

  

Friends of North Wirral Coastal Park

Leasowe Lighthouse

North Wirral Coastal Park

Pasture Road

Moreton

Wirral

CH46 4 TA

  

General

  

Until the coming of the railway in 1866 the north Wirral coastal strip was mainly open sandy commons leading to poor agricultural land and for many centuries this was a sparsely populated area relying on farming and fishing, the population living in small scattered hamlets. After the railway arrived the economy and population of the area changed rapidly bringing sprawling housing developments, smallholdings, caravan parks and light industry and almost the elimination of what was an extensive coastal dune system.

 

However the coast was not always a quiet neglected area, as the archaeology reveals (for an extensive review see "Meols- The Archaeology of the North Wirral Coast" D Griffiths, R A Philpott and G Egan Oxford University School of Archaeology .From which I have taken much of the information used below).

  

Prehistory

  

An ancient forest now submerged dating back at least 5000 years stretched probably two and a half miles out from the current shoreline.

  

There are some archaeological finds associated with the peat bed showing the presence of people in the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. There have been Iron Age ‘swan neck' pins found that may have been connected to the appearance, after a storm, of circular buildings seen in the 1880s and 1890s and believed to be Iron Age. It is probable that there was trading activity in this area beginning in the 5th century BC continuing until the arrival of the Romans.

  

Thanks to Frank Biddle and Jan & Marilyn Boumphley for this and several other pictures and information

  

Wildlife

  

The North Wirral Coastal Park is an extremely important site for the conservation of rare and threatened animal and plant species with a number of local Biodiversity Action plans in progress to address the needs of rare invertebrates, plants and associated habitats.

  

At the Leasowe Gunsite there is an area of consolidated sand-dunes behind the sea wall with areas of ‘blow-out’ now established with marram grass (Ammophila arenaria). In addition, yellow dune, grey dune, dune grassland and dune scrub habitats are all present. Typical sand dune species are present including kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulnereria), common bird’s foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) and restharrow (Ononis repens). A wildflower meadow connects the dunes with one of the main public access points to the Park. Of particular interest is the presence here of the nationally rare Isle of Man Cabbage (Coincya monensis spp. monensis), one of only two Cheshire (VC 58) stations for this plant.

  

Further along the coast behind the Wallasey embankment, there are a linear series of habitats ranging through remnant dunes, saline grassland, scrub, ditches, reedbeds and amenity grassland. Here there is considerable botanical interest , notably the presence of buttonweed (Cotula coronopifolia) in the locality where it was first found in Britain. Other botanical interest includes the remnant dune and dune slack species such as few-flowered spike rush (Eleocharis quinqiflora), slender spike-rush (Eleocharis uniglumis) and strawberry clover (Trifolium fragiferum).

  

The area is valuable for breeding birds and species present include Stonechat, Grasshopper Warbler, Skylark, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and Lapwing, Also present in the artificial dunes at Meols is a colony of the rare Belted Beauty moth (Lycia zonaria), a species found only at Meols and at one other site in England.

  

In south facing dune sites at both Leasowe Gunsite and Meols, colonies of the rare Vernal Mining Bee (Colletes cunicularius) are thriving. It was first discovered in the Wallasey Sandhills on 4th May 1855. It is pleasing to record that this species can still be found over a hundred years later, surviving well despite extreme habitat modification and degradation over the years.

  

The Friends and the Coastal Rangers work with Butterfly Conservation, Wirral Wildlife and experts from The World Museum Liverpool, to monitor threatened wildlife in the Park and ensure that sensitive habitats are maintained in spite of heavy visitor pressure.

www.friendsofnorthwirralcoastalpark.co.uk/index.php?optio...

  

Friends of North Wirral Coastal Park

Leasowe Lighthouse

North Wirral Coastal Park

Pasture Road

Moreton

Wirral

CH46 4 TA

  

General

  

Until the coming of the railway in 1866 the north Wirral coastal strip was mainly open sandy commons leading to poor agricultural land and for many centuries this was a sparsely populated area relying on farming and fishing, the population living in small scattered hamlets. After the railway arrived the economy and population of the area changed rapidly bringing sprawling housing developments, smallholdings, caravan parks and light industry and almost the elimination of what was an extensive coastal dune system.

 

However the coast was not always a quiet neglected area, as the archaeology reveals (for an extensive review see "Meols- The Archaeology of the North Wirral Coast" D Griffiths, R A Philpott and G Egan Oxford University School of Archaeology .From which I have taken much of the information used below).

  

Prehistory

  

An ancient forest now submerged dating back at least 5000 years stretched probably two and a half miles out from the current shoreline.

  

There are some archaeological finds associated with the peat bed showing the presence of people in the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. There have been Iron Age ‘swan neck' pins found that may have been connected to the appearance, after a storm, of circular buildings seen in the 1880s and 1890s and believed to be Iron Age. It is probable that there was trading activity in this area beginning in the 5th century BC continuing until the arrival of the Romans.

  

Thanks to Frank Biddle and Jan & Marilyn Boumphley for this and several other pictures and information

  

Wildlife

  

The North Wirral Coastal Park is an extremely important site for the conservation of rare and threatened animal and plant species with a number of local Biodiversity Action plans in progress to address the needs of rare invertebrates, plants and associated habitats.

  

At the Leasowe Gunsite there is an area of consolidated sand-dunes behind the sea wall with areas of ‘blow-out’ now established with marram grass (Ammophila arenaria). In addition, yellow dune, grey dune, dune grassland and dune scrub habitats are all present. Typical sand dune species are present including kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulnereria), common bird’s foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) and restharrow (Ononis repens). A wildflower meadow connects the dunes with one of the main public access points to the Park. Of particular interest is the presence here of the nationally rare Isle of Man Cabbage (Coincya monensis spp. monensis), one of only two Cheshire (VC 58) stations for this plant.

  

Further along the coast behind the Wallasey embankment, there are a linear series of habitats ranging through remnant dunes, saline grassland, scrub, ditches, reedbeds and amenity grassland. Here there is considerable botanical interest , notably the presence of buttonweed (Cotula coronopifolia) in the locality where it was first found in Britain. Other botanical interest includes the remnant dune and dune slack species such as few-flowered spike rush (Eleocharis quinqiflora), slender spike-rush (Eleocharis uniglumis) and strawberry clover (Trifolium fragiferum).

  

The area is valuable for breeding birds and species present include Stonechat, Grasshopper Warbler, Skylark, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and Lapwing, Also present in the artificial dunes at Meols is a colony of the rare Belted Beauty moth (Lycia zonaria), a species found only at Meols and at one other site in England.

  

In south facing dune sites at both Leasowe Gunsite and Meols, colonies of the rare Vernal Mining Bee (Colletes cunicularius) are thriving. It was first discovered in the Wallasey Sandhills on 4th May 1855. It is pleasing to record that this species can still be found over a hundred years later, surviving well despite extreme habitat modification and degradation over the years.

  

The Friends and the Coastal Rangers work with Butterfly Conservation, Wirral Wildlife and experts from The World Museum Liverpool, to monitor threatened wildlife in the Park and ensure that sensitive habitats are maintained in spite of heavy visitor pressure.

wetenschappelijk: Polyommatus icarus

 

Scientific name: Polyommatus icarus

 

Icarusblauwtje

 

Beschrijving:

Het icarusblauwtje is een veel voorkomende vlindersoort. Het lijkt op het esparcetteblauwtje, maar onderscheidt zich van deze door twee wortelvlekken op de onderkant van de voorvleugels. Het komt voor op de meeste typen graslanden, van vrij droge schrale gras lanen tot matig vochtige hooilanden. Het vrouwtje zet de eitjes af op veel soorten vlinderbloemigen, onder andere Lotus corniculatus (gewone rolklaver). De rups voedt zich met de bladeren. Ze wordt veelvuldig bezocht door mieren van de geslachten Lasius, Formica, Myrmica, Tapinoma en Plagiolepis . Als ze half volgroeid is, kan ze in de strooisellaag overwinteren. In hete klimaten vindt ook overzomen als ei of rups plaats. De verpopping gebeurt in de strooisellaag. Het icarusblauwtje vliegt afhankelijk va de geografische ligging en de hoogte van het vliegterrein in een tot drie generaties per jaar.

 

Leefgebied:

Droge zure graslanden

Droog kalkgrasland en steppe

Matig voedselrijk grasland

 

Verspreiding:

Wijdverbreid en algemeen in heel Europa. Plaatselijk op de Canarische eilanden. Ontbreekt op Madeira en de Azoren. Vliegt van zeeniveau tot bijna 3000m hoogte.

 

Vliegtijd:

april, mei, juni, juli, augustus, september, oktober.

 

Status Europa:

Soort is thans niet bedreigd in Europa.

 

Status Benelux:

In de Benelux niet bedreigd.

 

The taxonomy of the genus Polyommatus has recently been revised so that it now includes those species formerly placed in Lysandra, Neolysandra, Sublysandra, Plebicula, Elviria, Rimisia, Bryna, Meleageria, Agrodiaetus, Paragrodiaetus and Cyaniris. Defined thus Polyommatus comprises about 220 species, distributed variously across Europe, North Africa, temperate Asia and North America.

 

Despite its name the Common Blue can no longer be considered a common butterfly in the UK. It still remains the most widespread 'blue', but many colonies in marginal habitats such as woodland rides and farmland have declined or been lost. The species still occurs in moderate numbers on chalk or limestone grasslands, but even in these habitats most colonies nowadays comprise of no more than a few dozen individuals.

 

Males are very consistent in appearance, the uppersides being bright violet-blue with unchequered white fringes. Females vary considerably - they always have orange submarginal lunules, but some are almost devoid of blue and strongly resemble the Brown Argus, while others are heavily dusted with blue scales. The magnificent Scottish race is known as marsicolore - its upperside is almost entirely deep violet blue, and the orange lunules are much enlarged.

 

The undersides of both sexes of Common Blue are marked with numerous white-ringed black spots and orange crescents. Sometimes aberrant forms occur in which the black spots are elongated into a series of short bars. Other rare forms occur in which the spots are reduced in size, or are entirely absent. In all forms the male has a greyish ground colour with bluish scales around the base of the wings. Females instead have greenish scales at the wing bases, and a pale brown ground colour.

 

This species is found right across Europe from northern Scandinavia to the smallest islands of the Mediterranean. Beyond Europe, its range extends from the Middle East across temperate Asia to northern China. It also occurs in north Africa and the Canary Islands.

 

Habitats

The butterfly is found throughout England, Scotland and Wales at sites where bird's foot trefoil grows in profusion. It is most abundant on chalk or limestone grassland but also occurs in lesser numbers in woodland clearings, meadows, heathlands, sand dunes, along railway embankments, riverbanks and undercliffs. Numbers are usually highest on south facing hillsides, but populations at these sites are prone to crash in hot dry summers, resulting in poor numbers the following spring.

In Europe the Common Blue occurs in almost all habitats - I have found it on mountains at altitudes up to 2700m, and in numerous other habitats including arid scrubland, glades in pinewoods, and on freshwater marshland.

southern Britain there are usually 2 generations per year. The first brood emerges in May and flies until mid June. The second brood emerges in late July or early August and remains on the wing until mid September or sometimes into early October. There may be a partial third brood at certain particularly warm sites. In the north of Britain there is often just a single brood, but this depends very much upon locality and weather conditions.

The circular, flattened white eggs are usually laid on the upper surface of terminal leaves of bird's foot trefoil Lotus corniculatus, but greater bird's foot trefoil Lotus uliginosus, restharrow Ononis repens, black medick Medicago lupulina and other leguminous herbs are also used.

The larvae are pale green in colour, and feed diurnally. Like most Lycaenid species they are often attended by ants, which milk them for sugary secretions. The larvae in exchange are protected by the ants from predatory insects. The relationship is not symbiotic however: captive larvae that are prevented from making contact with ants survive well and produce healthy adult butterflies. Larvae of the 1st brood feed up quickly and produce butterflies in late summer. Those of the 2nd & 3rd broods ( where they occur ) hibernate when small and reawaken in March to resume feeding.

The chrysalis is pale green, with the wing cases tinged with buff. The shed larval skin remains attached to the tip of the abdomen. Ants are attracted to the newly formed chrysalis ( probably by pheromones ) and quickly cover it with particles of soil and leaf litter. The pupal stage lasts for about 2 weeks.

 

Adult behaviour

In weak sunlit conditions males often bask on low herbage, with wings held half open. In overcast but warm conditions they sometimes bask with wings fully outspread. When the weather is warm and sunny they fly actively from flower to flower, nectaring in spring at bird's foot trefoil, buttercup, daisy, black medick, hop trefoil, hoary plantain, speedwell, milkwort, forget-me-not and comfrey. Summer brood icarus favour fleabane, ox-eye daisy and marjoram.

When the sexes meet copulation occurs immediately without any form of courtship ritual. Mated pairs often sit in prominent positions on grass-heads or on flowerheads.

Both sexes roost overnight on grass heads, facing head-downwards, often in groups of up to 4 or 5 individuals. Roosting at the top of the grasses is an effective survival strategy, keeping them out of reach of mice and other nocturnal predators.

  

Common Restharrow a lovely flower especially if you get down and have a good look

Badlands below the Gleichen Castle, Castles Country Drei Gleichen (Three Equals)

 

Ordo: Fabales Bromhead; Edinb. New Philos. J,25: 126. 1838.

Familia: Fabaceae Lindl.; Intr. Nat. Syst. Bot., ed. 2. 148. 1836

Subfamilia: Faboideae Rudd; Rhodora 70(784): 496. 1968.

Tribu: Trifolieae Endl.; Fl. Poson. 452. 1830.

Genus: Ononis L.; Sp. Pl. 2: 716. 1753.

Species: Ononis spinosa L.; Sp. Pl. 2: 716. 1753.

 

Synonym:

Ononis campestris Koch & Ziz; Catal. Pl. Palat. 22. 1814.

Ononis repens subsp. spinosa Greuter; Willdenowia 16(1): 113. 1986.

Ononis vulgaris Rouy, p.p.C; Fl. France Prosp. 4: 268. 1897.

 

Native range:

Europa, West-Asien und Nordafrika

 

Note: Occasional with the Common Restharrow (Ononis repens) and the Field Restharrow (Ononis arvensis) summarized to the species group Ononis spinosa agg.

 

de

regionale Bezeichnungen:

Hackeln (Braunschweig), Hechle (Schweiz), Hûhachele, Hûheckele (Göttingen), Hohachel (Thüringen), Haothiekel, Hatthiekeln, Haorthieken (Westfalen), Ruhhackeln (Braunschweig), Schofhächla, Hüchelterdööre = -dornen (Niederrhein), Haoldoor (Rheinlande), Huwerdorn, Hähdorn (Nahegebiet), Heedoor (Hunsrück), Bummeldor(n), -dörner (Rheinpfalz, Lothringen), Bommeldor (Lothringen), Kreindoorn = Krähendorn (Schleswig). Die folgenden Benennungen deuten wohl alle darauf, daß die zähen, tief wurzelnden Stengel des Hauhechels dem Pfluge und den jätenden Weibern viel zu schaffen machen: Eisengras, o. -kraut (Böhmerwald), Plogstiert = Pflugsterz (Mecklenburg), Ochsenkraut (Niederösterreich), Weiberkrieg (z. B. Anhalt, Erzgebirge), Frauenkrieg, o. Mäderkrieg (Nordböhmen), Weiberzorn (Niederösterreich). Als harntreibendes Mittel heißt die Pflanze auch Seichkraut (Oberösterreich), Harnkraut (Kärnten), Stallkraut (Schweiz).

 

en Spiny Restharrow

 

nl Gedoornd Stalkruid, Heetegaal, Heidoorn, Kattendoorn, Prangwortel, Woerthaak

 

da Kragetzlo

 

no Beinurt

 

sv Busktörne, Stallört

 

fr Arrête-boeuf, Bougrande, Bugrane

 

es Asnillo, Balomaga, Detiene bueyes, Espinilla, Gatilla, Gatuna, Gatuña, Hierba toro, Peine de asno, Quiebra Arados

 

ast Asnillo, Balomaga, Detien gües, Espinía, Gatilla, Gatuna, Gatuña, Hierba toro, Peñe de pollín, Quiebra llabraos

 

ca Gavó espinós, Abriüll, Adragó, Adragull, Adrul, Adrull, Agagó, Agaó, Ardagull, Aturabou, Augó, Balonaga, Bornaga, Brunaga, Cadell, Candell, Dent de bou, Escanyabocs, Gaó, Gavó, Ugó i ungla de gat. També se l'anomena afrontacavadors i/o afrontallauradors per les dificultats que pateixen els camperols per eradicar-la dels seus camps de conreu.

 

pt Gatinha, Gatinho, Gatunha, Resta-boi, Rilha-boi, Unha-de-gato, Unha-gata

 

it Arrestabue, Bonaga, Buràle, Bullimacola, Giàtte, Ononide spinosa, Stancabue,

 

ro Osul iepurelui, Asudul calului, Ciocul ciorii, Cașul iepurelui, Dirmotin, Lemnic, Lingoare, Sălăștioară, Sudoarea calului, Sudoarea capului, Lingoare, Ciocul caprei

 

eu Itxiokorri

 

cy Tagaradr Pigog, Cas Gan Arddwr, Hwp yr Ychen, Tag yr Aradr Pigog

 

cs Jehlice trnitá, Babé hněv

 

sk Ihlica tŕnitá

 

pl Wilżyna ciernista

 

sr Zečji trn, Gladiš, Gladušac, Bijeli trn, Bodež, Iglica, Vučitrn, Grmotrn

 

sl Navadni gladež

 

hr Bijeli trn, Bodež, Gladež, Gladišnik, Gladiška, Gladuška, Iglica, Kokorovo zelje, Kraljevska salata, Mača, Milotrn, Rupni trnić.

 

hsb Kawaty tryčk

 

lt Dygliuotasis dirvenis

 

hu Tövises iglice

 

sq Kalmuthi gjembor

 

tr Kayışkıran

 

az Barbed paxlakolu

 

el Ονωνίδα (Ononída)

 

ru Ста́льник колю́чий (Stál'nik kolyúchiy), Заячье ушко (Zayach'ye ushko), Сенной шип (Sennoy ship), Бабская война (Babskaya voyna)

 

mk Грмотрн (Grmotrn), Зајчетрн (Zajčetrn), Зајачки трн (Zajački trn)

 

bg Гръмотрън (Grŭmotrŭn)

 

ar الشبرق الشائك (Alshshabraq alshshayik)

 

fa خارخر (Kharkhr)

 

he שברק קוצני (? plaease help)

Polyommatus icarus (Common blue) is a very common small size butterfly of cretan fauna. This the third brood taking place late in summer. Male uppersides are an iridescent lilac blue with a thin black border due to its common name. Females are brown above with a row of red spots along the edges and usually some blue at the base of the wings in some cases.

 

The main food plant on most sites is Bird's foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus). Others used include Black Medick Medicago lupulina, Common Restharrow (Ononis repens), White Clover (Trifolium repens), and Lesser Trefoil (Trifolium dubium). Eggs are laid singly on young shoots of the food plant.

 

The caterpillar is small, pale green with yellow stripes and, as usual with lycid larvae, rather slug-like. Hibernation occurs as a half grown larva and it completes its development in spring

The only match I can find. It's apparently a migrant species?This caterpillar was happily munching on Common restharrow. Please correct ID if wrong!

Loe Bar - Cornwall (July 15)

Pembrey, Carmarthenshire. Reared from larva on restharrow (Ononis repens) collected 20th May 2019. Adult emerged 14th June 2019.

Polyommatus icarus is a very common small size butterfly of cretan fauna. Male uppersides are an iridescent lilac blue with a thin black border. Females are brown with a row of red spots along the edges. They usually have some blue at the base of the wings . It can complete three generations per year in several plants e.g. Ononis sp, Trifolium repens etc. It overwinters as larvae and resume its development in spring. Main flight period is Spring to Automn.

Common Centaury, Restharrow, and Wild thyme amongst many others!

Newborough Warren - Anglesey

This was a first for me. I found Spiny Restharrow at Saltwick Bay and Orford.

Sand dunes Fairbourne Wales UK 24th August 2016

Ainsdale and Birkdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve

Perennial herb growing happily by the side of the road.

Apparently the roots used to be eaten by children as it tastes like

wild liquorice. I found a few old local names - Horse breath in Worcestershire and Somerset due to the harder breathing of horses trying to plough through this plant. Harrow rest in Lincolnshire, sit-fast in Scotland, from the tenacity with which the roots cling to the ground.

A creeping perennial, Common Restharrow is a low-growing, creeping plant with clusters of pink flowers that can be seen from July to September. Most commonly growing in England, it can be found on grassland, particularly chalk and limestone grassland, and especially around the coast.

 

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Lepidoptera

Family: Lycaenidae

Tribe: Polyommatini

Genus: Polyommatus

Species: P. icarus

Meadows, Grasslands, Quarries.

 

Seen in suitable habitats throughout Ireland.

 

Bird's foot trefoil.

 

30-35mm (1.09 inches)

[Small Tortoiseshell 50mm]

 

The Common Blue is the most colourful of the Blues found in Ireland. The male is a very attractive shiny blue, whereas the female is mainly brown.

The underside is very decorative with orange crescents and black spots.

 

Male has blue wings with black-brown border and thin white fringe. Female brown, similar to Brown Argus, but with blue dusting near body.

 

The Common Blue is the most widespread blue butterfly in Britain and Ireland and is found in a variety of grassy habitats.

 

The brightly coloured males are conspicuous but females are more secretive. The colour of the upperwings of females varies from almost completely brown in southern England to predominantly blue in western Ireland and Scotland, but the colour is variable within local populations with some striking examples. Unlike Adonis and Chalkhill Blues, the dark veins do not extend into white fringes of wing margins.

 

It remains widespread but there have been local declines within its range.

Size and Family

 

Family: Blues

Size: Small

Wing Span Range (male to female): 35mm

 

Conservation Status

 

Butterfly Conservation priority: Low

European status: Not threatened

 

Caterpillar Foodplants

 

Common Bird's-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) is the main foodplant. Other plants used include: Greater Bird's-foot-trefoil (L. pedunculatus), Black Medick (Medicago lupulina), Common Restharrow (Ononis repens), White Clover (Trifolium repens), Lesser Trefoil (T. dubium).

Distribution

 

Countries: England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Found throughout Britain and Ireland

Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = -15%

 

Habitat

 

Very common and found in a variety of habitats especially sunny sheltered spots. Examples of habitats include; downland, coastal dunes, undercliffs, road verges, acid grass and woodland clearings

 

It is also found on waste ground, disused pits and quarries, golf courses, and urban habitats such as cemeteries.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2017-06-19 Scotland, Edinburgh - Arthur's Seat

 

Native to Scotland.

Polyomatus icarus is a small size butterfly of cretan flora. It is widespread in Europe, North Africa and temperate Asia.

Recently, Polyommatus icarus was discovered in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada.The main food plant is Bird's foot trefoil while some other plants are suitable as well e.g. Black Medick Medicago lupulina, Common Restharrow Ononis repens, White Clover Trifolium repens and Lesser Trefoil Trifolium dubium. It lays eggs on shoot and hibernate as larvae. It can complete three broods in Crete.

Badlands below the Gleichen Castle, Castles Country Drei Gleichen (Three Equals)

 

Ordo: Fabales Bromhead; Edinb. New Philos. J,25: 126. 1838.

Familia: Fabaceae Lindl.; Intr. Nat. Syst. Bot., ed. 2. 148. 1836

Subfamilia: Faboideae Rudd; Rhodora 70(784): 496. 1968.

Tribu: Trifolieae Endl.; Fl. Poson. 452. 1830.

Genus: Ononis L.; Sp. Pl. 2: 716. 1753.

Species: Ononis spinosa L.; Sp. Pl. 2: 716. 1753.

 

Synonym:

Ononis campestris Koch & Ziz; Catal. Pl. Palat. 22. 1814.

Ononis repens subsp. spinosa Greuter; Willdenowia 16(1): 113. 1986.

Ononis vulgaris Rouy, p.p.C; Fl. France Prosp. 4: 268. 1897.

 

Native range:

Europa, West-Asien und Nordafrika

 

Note: Occasional with the Common Restharrow (Ononis repens) and the Field Restharrow (Ononis arvensis) summarized to the species group Ononis spinosa agg.

 

de

regionale Bezeichnungen:

Hackeln (Braunschweig), Hechle (Schweiz), Hûhachele, Hûheckele (Göttingen), Hohachel (Thüringen), Haothiekel, Hatthiekeln, Haorthieken (Westfalen), Ruhhackeln (Braunschweig), Schofhächla, Hüchelterdööre = -dornen (Niederrhein), Haoldoor (Rheinlande), Huwerdorn, Hähdorn (Nahegebiet), Heedoor (Hunsrück), Bummeldor(n), -dörner (Rheinpfalz, Lothringen), Bommeldor (Lothringen), Kreindoorn = Krähendorn (Schleswig). Die folgenden Benennungen deuten wohl alle darauf, daß die zähen, tief wurzelnden Stengel des Hauhechels dem Pfluge und den jätenden Weibern viel zu schaffen machen: Eisengras, o. -kraut (Böhmerwald), Plogstiert = Pflugsterz (Mecklenburg), Ochsenkraut (Niederösterreich), Weiberkrieg (z. B. Anhalt, Erzgebirge), Frauenkrieg, o. Mäderkrieg (Nordböhmen), Weiberzorn (Niederösterreich). Als harntreibendes Mittel heißt die Pflanze auch Seichkraut (Oberösterreich), Harnkraut (Kärnten), Stallkraut (Schweiz).

 

en Spiny Restharrow

 

nl Gedoornd Stalkruid, Heetegaal, Heidoorn, Kattendoorn, Prangwortel, Woerthaak

 

da Kragetzlo

 

no Beinurt

 

sv Busktörne, Stallört

 

fr Arrête-boeuf, Bougrande, Bugrane

 

es Asnillo, Balomaga, Detiene bueyes, Espinilla, Gatilla, Gatuna, Gatuña, Hierba toro, Peine de asno, Quiebra Arados

 

ast Asnillo, Balomaga, Detien gües, Espinía, Gatilla, Gatuna, Gatuña, Hierba toro, Peñe de pollín, Quiebra llabraos

 

ca Gavó espinós, Abriüll, Adragó, Adragull, Adrul, Adrull, Agagó, Agaó, Ardagull, Aturabou, Augó, Balonaga, Bornaga, Brunaga, Cadell, Candell, Dent de bou, Escanyabocs, Gaó, Gavó, Ugó i ungla de gat. També se l'anomena afrontacavadors i/o afrontallauradors per les dificultats que pateixen els camperols per eradicar-la dels seus camps de conreu.

 

pt Gatinha, Gatinho, Gatunha, Resta-boi, Rilha-boi, Unha-de-gato, Unha-gata

 

it Arrestabue, Bonaga, Buràle, Bullimacola, Giàtte, Ononide spinosa, Stancabue,

 

ro Osul iepurelui, Asudul calului, Ciocul ciorii, Cașul iepurelui, Dirmotin, Lemnic, Lingoare, Sălăștioară, Sudoarea calului, Sudoarea capului, Lingoare, Ciocul caprei

 

eu Itxiokorri

 

cy Tagaradr Pigog, Cas Gan Arddwr, Hwp yr Ychen, Tag yr Aradr Pigog

 

cs Jehlice trnitá, Babé hněv

 

sk Ihlica tŕnitá

 

pl Wilżyna ciernista

 

sr Zečji trn, Gladiš, Gladušac, Bijeli trn, Bodež, Iglica, Vučitrn, Grmotrn

 

sl Navadni gladež

 

hr Bijeli trn, Bodež, Gladež, Gladišnik, Gladiška, Gladuška, Iglica, Kokorovo zelje, Kraljevska salata, Mača, Milotrn, Rupni trnić.

 

hsb Kawaty tryčk

 

lt Dygliuotasis dirvenis

 

hu Tövises iglice

 

sq Kalmuthi gjembor

 

tr Kayışkıran

 

az Barbed paxlakolu

 

el Ονωνίδα (Ononída)

 

ru Ста́льник колю́чий (Stál'nik kolyúchiy), Заячье ушко (Zayach'ye ushko), Сенной шип (Sennoy ship), Бабская война (Babskaya voyna)

 

mk Грмотрн (Grmotrn), Зајчетрн (Zajčetrn), Зајачки трн (Zajački trn)

 

bg Гръмотрън (Grŭmotrŭn)

 

ar الشبرق الشائك (Alshshabraq alshshayik)

 

fa خارخر (Kharkhr)

 

he שברק קוצני (? plaease help)

Mont Ventoux (FR), 29 juni 2010

 

Ononis repens

NL: Kruipend stalkruid

E: Common Restharrow

F: Bugrane rampante

D: Kriechende Hauhechel

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