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Phengaris atroguttata R0010379.jpg
The great spotted blue (P. atroguttata), one of the "traditional" Phengaris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Lycaenidae
Subfamily: Polyommatinae
Tribe: Polyommatini
Genus: Phengaris
Doherty, 1891

See text


Maculinea (van Eecke, 1915)

Phengaris is a genus of gossamer-winged butterflies in the subfamily Polyommatinae. Commonly, these butterflies are called large blues, which if referring to a particular species is P. arion, a species resident in Europe and some parts of Asia.

Underside of the large blue (P. arion), formerly in Maculinea in Rabastens-de-Bigorre, Hautes-Pyrénées, France

Phengaris nowadays includes the genus Maculinea. The type species of the latter was the Alcon blue ("M." alcon), which is less closely related to most of the other supposed members of Maculinea than the old Phengaris species are, and hence the two genera are merged to form a monophyletic group. Alternatively, Maculinea could be restricted to the one or two species of "Alcon" blues, and the rest of it be separated as a new genus. But this would mean to maintain two very small genera, which is generally avoided by modern taxonomists. As Phengaris is the older name, it thus replaces Maculinea.[1]

Maculinea was alternatively considered to be a subgenus of Glaucopsyche. But while Glaucopsyche and Phengaris (including Maculinea) are certainly close relatives, they are unlikely to be that close.[citation needed]

The most recently discovered species in the genus is P. xiushani, first reported in 2010 and found in undisturbed forested mountains, unlike all the other members which live in grasslands over their entire range of distribution.[2]


The species, listed in the presumed phylogenetic sequence from the most ancestral to the most apomorphic, are:[3]

Basal group (Maculinea sensu stricto)

Phengaris sensu stricto

Other "Maculinea"

Incertae sedis


  1. ^ Brower (2008)
  2. ^ a b "New Species of Large Blue Butterfly Discovered". Science Daily. 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  3. ^ See Brower (2008) and the references in Savela (2006, 2008)


  • Brower, Andrew V.Z. (2008): Tree of Life Web Project – Phengaris. Version of 2008-JAN-06. Retrieved 2009-OCT-04.
  • Savela, Markku (2006): Markku Savela's Lepidoptera and some other life forms – Phengaris. Version of 2006-MAR-12. Retrieved 2009-OCT-04.
  • Savela, Markku (2008): Markku Savela's Lepidoptera and some other life forms – Maculinea. Version of 2008-JUL-05. Retrieved 2009-OCT-04.

External links[edit]