Name: Large Blue
Scientific name: Maculinea arion
Nature Stars: 90
About: A fairly small butterfly, with a wingspan of about 5cm. Adults fly for a very short period from the end of June to the beginning of July. A fairly dark blue butterfly with thick dark grey borders.
How to identify: Larger than the other blue species, and only found on a handful of sites.
Where: A very rare butterfly, only found at a handful of sites in the south of England where it has been reintroduced.
Fantastic fact: The Large Blue has a very strange life cycle. The caterpillars first feed on Wild Thyme, but then drop onto the ground and are carried away by ants who mistake them for ant grubs and return them to the ant nest. Here the caterpillar feeds on the ant grubs themselves, rapidly growing in size before it turns into a chrysalis.
Photograph credit: Keith Warmington/www.warmies.co.uk