Devon Wildlife Trust The dazzling silver-studded blue is a rare butterfly of heathland habitats, mainly in southern England. It has undergone severe population declines in recent years. The silver-studded blue emerges in June and is usually on the wing until late August. It is a rare butterfly, generally found in heathland habitats that have shorter, sparsely vegetated areas. It is restricted to close-knit colonies in southern England and Wales. Two subspecies can be found in its range, while two others are now extinct in the UK. The larvae feed on a wide variety of plants, such as Bell Heather, Cross-leaved Heath and gorses.

How to identify

The silver-studded blue is a small butterfly which gets its name from the light blue reflective 'studs' (scales) found on the underside of the wings. The upper wings are blue with a dark outer rim. Males are bluer than females, which are more of a dull brown. 


Devon Branch of Butterfly Conservation Devon has around 39 resident butterfly species and we can help point you in the right direction on where and when is best to see them.  Why not join in our one of our Events (during the summer we organise field events to show you some of our resident butterfly species and in the winter we organise conservation work days to improve the habitat for butterflies in Devon).

Butterfly Conservation Males blue with a dark border. Females brown with a row of red spots. Undersides brown-grey with black spots, a row of orange spots, and small greenish flecks on outer margin. Males are similar to Common Blue, which lacks greenish spots.

This small butterfly is found mainly in heathland where the silvery-blue wings of the males provide a marvellous sight as they fly low over the heather. The females are brown and far less conspicuous but, like the male, have distinct metallic spots on the hindwing. In the late afternoon the adults often congregate to roost on sheltered bushes or grass tussocks.

The Silver-studded Blue has a restricted distribution but occurs in large numbers in suitable heathland and coastal habitats. It has undergone a major decline through most of its range. 


Photo: Ian Kirk 


Devonshire Association Entomology Section The Entomology Section promotes the study and recording of insects and also spiders in the county.

Meetings, talks, exhibitions, publications and field trips are arranged annually across the county of Devon and are suitable for beginners and experienced alike. Field trips are usually held in association with other specialist groups with whom we maintain close links. We also meet with other sections to demonstrate, and learn, about the inter-relationships with other disciplines.

With at least ten specialists in different Orders within the insect class we cater for a wide range of interests. Some of our Recorders are national experts in their field and hence we are the major collective source of entomological expertise in the county.


Devon Biodiversity Record Centre Submit your sightings of Silver-studded Blues and other species in Devon 


British Naturalist's Association 

There are 56 British butterflies species breeding in the UK. These are represented by just six families, skippers (Hesperiidae): swallowtails (Papilionidae): whites and yellows (Pieridae): hairstreaks, coppers and blues (Lycaenidae): metalmarks (Riodinidae) and the fritillaries, nymphalids and browns (Nymphalidae)

Two of these families are represented by only one species, the Papilionidae by the swallowtail (Papilio machaon), which is confined to Norfolk Broads and the Riodinidae by the Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis lucina) found only in local areas in the north-east, north-west and south-east England.

Twenty nine of Great Britain’s breeding butterfly species are listed as ‘High UK priority’, with 9 of those regarded as requiring ‘urgent action across their UK range’. Butterfly Conservation found further evidence of the serious, long-term and ongoing decline of UK butterflies, with 70% of species declining in occurrence since 1976. and overall, 76% of the UK’s resident and regular migrant butterfly species declined in either abundance or occurrence (or both) over the past four decades. By comparison, 47% of species increased in one or both measures. This is of great concern not just for butterflies but for other wildlife species and the overall state of the environment. 


Buglife is the only organisation in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates. We’re actively working to save Britain’s rarest little animals, everything from bees to beetles, worms to woodlice and jumping spiders to jellyfish. 


National Biodiveristy Network The NBN Atlas is a collaborative project that aggregates biodiversity data from multiple sources and makes it available and usable online. It is the UK’s largest collection of freely available biodiversity data. 


Wikipedia The silver-studded blue (Plebejus argus) is a butterfly in the family Lycaenidae. It has bright blue wings rimmed in black with white edges and silver spots on its hindwings, lending it the name of the silver-studded blue. P. argus can be found across Europe and east across the Palearctic, but is most often studied in the United Kingdom in which the species has experienced a severe decline in population due to habitat loss and fragmentation.

P. argus engages in mutualism with ants that contribute to the butterflies' reproductive fitness by providing protection from predation and parasitism from the point of egg laying to their emergence as adults. P. argus adults emerge in the end of June and beginning of July and engage in flight into the beginning of August.

The butterfly is adaptable to different habitats and is found in heathland, mossland, and limestone grassland. Tending towards a sedentary lifestyle and typically flying less than 20 metres (66 ft) a day, P. argus maintains a small radius home range. Their habitats lend themselves well to both foraging and egg laying as the host plants are ubiquitous in all three environments they occupy. 

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