The Holly Blue butterfly occurs widely accross lowland England and Wales, just reaching southern Scotland. It is a butterfly that is as much at home in a suburban garden as it is in the countryside, as it's caterpillar feeds on flower buds and developing fruits of a variety of shrubs, with Holly, Cotoneaster, Dogwood and Ivy flower buds being favourites.

 

 

A female Holly Blue in the spring.

 

Female Holly Blue egg laying on Ivy buds.

 

A Holly Blue egg on a Ivy bud. It is about 1mm in diameter.

 

An ant feeding from the honey gland of a Holly Blue larva that is feeding on a Ivy buds. Note the holes in the buds where the larva has been feeding.

 

The pupa are fixed to a leaf or other debris and is usually well hidden.

 

Instead of a butterfly hatching from the pupa, this parasitoide wasp Listrodomus nycthemerus may emerge. This parasitic wasp is a major controller of the numbers of Holly Blues seen flying in a brood.

All pictures are Copyright of Richard Revels FRPS