Brown Argus butterfly

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Brown Argus butterfly

Aricia agestis, the brown argus, is a butterfly in the family Lycaenidae. It is found throughout the Palearctic ecozone north to northern Jutland (Denmark) and east to Siberia and Tian Shan.

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Lepidoptera
  • Family: Lycaenidae
  • Genus: Aricia
  • Species: A. agestis
  • Binomial name: Aricia agestis

Brown Argus butterfly Introduction

Unlike most other “blues”, the Brown Argus has no blue scales on its upperside, both sexes being primarily brown in colour as its common name suggests, although the butterfly does exhibit a blue sheen when at certain angles to the light. Both sexes have beautiful orange spots on the upperside of both forewings and hindwings.

This widespread species can be found south of a line between Dorset in the west and South-east Yorkshire in the east, along with colonies in Derbyshire, North Devon, East Cornwall and West Cornwall. It is also found in north and south Wales, but is absent from central Wales. This species is also absent from Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man.

This species occurs in small, compact colonies, and is not a great wanderer, only travelling a couple of hundred metres, at most, from where it emerged.

Brown Argus butterfly Size and Family

  • Family: Blues
  • Size: Small
  • Wing Span Range (male to female): 29mm

Life Cycle

This species generally has 2 broods a year in central and southern England, with only a partial second brood in north Wales and the north of England. In good years, a partial 3rd generation may appear in the south. The adults emerge first in central and southern England in early May, peaking at the end of May and beginning of June, and giving rise to a second brood that emerges at the end of July and into August. In north Wales and northern England, the first emergence starts in early June with any second brood appearing in early August.


The main habitats are chalk and limestone grassland. However, the butterfly can occur in a range of habitats with disturbed soils including coastal grassland and dunes, woodland clearings, heathland, disused railway lines and road verges..

Brown Argus butterfly Food plants

Eggs are laid singly on the underside of leaves. The typically slug-like lycid larvae are green with a pale line along each side and always attended by ants. They hibernate as fully-grown larvae and pupate the following spring. There are two broods a year in the southern colonies with adults on the wing in May and June and again in late July till mid-September but further north they are single brooded and fly in June and July.

Also more: Brimstone butterfly

Brown Argus butterfly images

Image by Erik Karits from Pixabay

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