Holly blues on the wing

Holly Blues have been flitting across our gardens throughout this month. We have three main blue butterflies in the south of England: holly, common and chalkhill blues. I used to feel unsure about which was which – all were quite small, all dashed about and all looked much the same! Actually, telling if it is a holly blue is quite easy.

Holly Blue showing the distinctive light blue colour of its underwings

For a start, only holly blues have been flying this last month, so if you have seen a blue butterfly it will almost certainly have been a holly blue. Also, only holly blues have light blue underwings. Common and chalkhill blue butterflies’ underwings are a light brown. As holly blue butterflies often rest with their wings folded, this is a really useful feature for ID.

In addition holly blues have a chequered black and white pattern to their wing edge. Common blues’ wing edge is plain white.

Holly blues have a chequered white and black edge to their wings.

Common blues will start flying soon so we will soon be able to have fun spotting which is which. Good luck!

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