Holly blue

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Holly blue
Holly blue (Celastrina argiolus) male.jpg
Holly blue butterfly (Celastrina argiolus) female.jpg
both Cumnor Hill, Oxford, England
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Lycaenidae
Genus: Celastrina
Species: C. argiolus
Binomial name
Celastrina argiolus
(Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Papilio cleobis Sulzer, 1776
  • Papilio thersanon Bergstrasser, 1779
  • Papilio argyphontes Bergstrasser, 1779
  • Papilio argalus Bergstrasse, 1779
  • Papilio (Argus) marginatus Retzius, 1783
  • Lycaenopsis argiolus calidogenita Verity, 1919
  • Lycaenopsis argiolus britanna Verity, 1919

The holly blue (Celastrina argiolus)[1] is a butterfly that belongs to the lycaenids or blues family and is native to Eurasia and North America.

The holly blue has pale silver-blue wings spotted with pale ivory dots. In Europe, the first generation feeds mainly on the holly species Ilex aquifolium but the second generation uses a range of food plants.[2]

The holly blue is the national butterfly of Finland.[3]


This species was originally described as Papilio argiolus by Linnaeus in 1758, and refers to the examples flying in Europe. In their monograph on the Lycaenopsis group of polyommatine genera, Eliot & Kawazoe, 1983, list 14 taxa as valid subspecies names, plus many further synonyms to which they accord lesser status. According to Eliot & Kawazoe, 1983, these 14 subspecies are divided into four groups as follows:

Common names[edit]

In India, C. argiolus is known as the hill hedge blue.[4] In North America, the ladon group of subspecies are known as the spring azure.[5] Also the name echo blue is used for the C. a. echo western subspecies.[6]


Found in North America, Central America, Eurasia. and South Asia, it occurs from Chitral in Pakistan to Kumaon in India.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Card for argiolus in LepIndex. Accessed 14 October 2006.
  2. ^ Butterfly Conservation A-Z of butterflies Archived 2010-06-20 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Finland's national butterfly is the holly blue - Suomi 100". suomifinland100.fi. Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  4. ^ a b Evans, W.H. (1932). The Identification of Indian Butterflies (2nd ed.). Mumbai, India: Bombay Natural History Society. pp. 221–226, ser no H21.24. 
  5. ^ Tveten, John & Gloria (1996). Butterflies of Houston & southeast Texas. Austin: University of Texas Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0292781436. 
  6. ^ Powell & Hogue (1980). California Insects. California Natural History Guides. p. 240. ISBN 0520037820. 

External links[edit]