Silver-studded Blue - Rejerrah

/ in Cornwall by Marek

Yet another butterfly in decline is the Silver-studded Blue which is now mainly restricted to areas along the south coast.

Although they can be found on the heath-land of the New Forest, which is their stronghold, we decided to go a little further afield to Cornwall a place we had always wanted to visit.

Choosing the hamlet of Rejerrah as our base camp suited our purpose with easy access to the sand dunes of Penhale Sands where the butterfly was reported to fly in great numbers.

We came across our quarry on our very first circular walk which started from our cottage passing a pub (figuratively speaking that is) and returning via the sand dunes.

It was here at the sand dunes that we recorded our quarry as researched and we had no trouble in getting some decent shots as they were emerging fresh from numerous ant hills.

This butterfly, like others of the species, have a strong affinity and dependence with ants to survive.

When the female lays her eggs, she does so on the food plant Bird’s-foot-trefoil and Horseshoe Vetch situated next to an ants’ nest so that when the caterpillars emerge they can be found by the ants who carry them into their nest.

When inside the ant hill chambers, they feed on shoots and roots of their foodplant.

If they venture out to feed the ants are in attendance to take them back when they have had their fill.

Even when the caterpillars are to large to carry the ants remain in attendance until they become pupa’s inside the ant hill.

It is from here that they eventually emerge as butterflies still with the ants in close attendance.

Ant climbing on the wing of a Silver-studded Blue
Anttending to your every need

As always, we had our portable moth trap with us and, even though we were only there for a week and the weather not being the best, managed a number of new species including a Rivulet which we have not recorded since.

In fact, the weather was so bad on one evening that we reluctantly decided not to trap all in order to prevent damage and save our limited supply of egg boxes.

Another moth of interest recorded was a female Pale Tussock which is not as readily attracted to light like the male which we record frequently.

A female Pale Tussock
Where are all the boys?

My next post sees me biting the bullet and investing in my first DSLR.