Plebejus idas

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Plebejus idas
Lycaeidas idas 02 (HS).jpg
Plebejus idas. Male, upperside
Lycaenidae - Plebejus idas.jpg
Plebejus idas. Female, underside
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Lycaenidae
Genus: Plebejus
P. idas
Binomial name
Plebejus idas
(Linnaeus, 1761)
  • Papilio idas Linnaeus, 1761
  • Lycaeides idas (Linnaeus, 1761)
  • Papilio argus Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775
  • Papilio leodorus Esper, 1782
  • Plebejus acdestis (Grum-Grhsimailo, 1890)
  • Lycaena argus armoricana Oberthür, 1910

Plebejus idas, the Idas blue or northern blue,[1] is a butterfly of the family Lycaenidae. It belongs to the subfamily of Polyommatinae (Babendreier, 2003).


Subspecies include the following:[2]

  • Plebejus idas acreon (Fabricius, 1787)
  • Plebejus idas alaskensis F. Chermock, 1945
  • Plebejus idas altarmenus (Forster, 1936)
  • Plebejus idas argulus (Frey, 1882)
  • Plebejus idas aster (Edwards, 1882)
  • Plebejus idas atrapraetextus Field, 1939
  • Plebejus idas bavarica (Forster, 1936)
  • Plebejus idas bellieri (Oberthür, 1910)
  • Plebejus idas empetri Freeman, 1938
  • Plebejus idas longinus (Nabokov, 1949)
  • Plebejus idas lotis Lintner, 1879
  • Plebejus idas magnagraeta Verity, 1936
  • Plebejus idas nabokovi (Masters, 1972)
  • Plebejus idas sareptensis Chapman, 1917
  • Plebejus idas scudderi (Edwards, 1861)
  • Plebejus idas sublivens (Nabokov, 1949)
  • Plebejus idas tshimganus (Forster, 1936)

Plebejus idas lotis (syn. Lycaeides idas lotis, Lycaeides argyrognomon lotis, Plebejus anna lotis[3]) - commonly known as lotis blue butterfly - is a critically endangered subspecies native to Mendocino County, California,[4] with sightings in Sonoma and Marin counties. It has been listed as an endangered species since June 1, 1976,[5] but is believed to be extinct since it has not been seen in the wild since 1994.

This butterfly is very rare with low population densities. This mainly due to human disturbance effecting and creating changes in vegetation. According to the Nature Conservancy, it is critically endangered. It is ranked as Ti, critically imperiled (Zverev, 2021). In the summer of 2014, a fire in Vastmanland in South Central Sweden affected an area of 13,100 ha. After the fire the Idas Blues along with other species increased in numbers. This is presumed to be because of an increase in larval host plant abundance.[6]


This species can be found in most of Europe (except parts of Spain, southern Italy and the United Kingdom),[7] in the northern regions of the Palearctic (Siberia, mountains of South Siberia and Yakutia) and in the Nearctic realms.[8][2]


It usually inhabits grassy flowery areas, mixed evergreen forests and wet meadows up to alpine levels,[7][9] at an elevation of 200–2,100 metres (660–6,890 ft) above sea level.[10]


Plebejus idas has a wingspan of 17–28 mm.[1][10] This species is quite variable in colors and markings. The upperside of male's wings is iridescent blue, while it is brown with orange submarginal spots in the females. The underface of the wings is greyish with black spots and it shows a thin black line and small dots along outer margin. Along these margins are also present a rather large orange band with blue spots.[9]

This species is very similar to the Silver studded blue (Plebejus argus) and to the Reverdin's blue (Plebejus argyrognomon).[7] The forelegs of male of Plebejus idas lacks a hook which is present in Plebejus argus.[10]


The species flies in a single brood from June to August depending on location.[9] The larvae feed on Calluna vulgaris, Vaccinium uliginosum, Empetrum nigrum and various Fabaceae species (mainly Cercis siliquastrum, Melilotus albus, Lotus corniculatus, Cytisus, Genista tinctoria, Trifolium pratense, Chrysaspis campestris, Astragalus alpinus and Anthyllis). They are usually attended by ants (Lasius and Formica species).[2][11] Second-stage of the caterpillars overwinter. Male butterflies will patrol and find plants to host the female butterflies. The female butterflies will lay the eggs on the host plant stems or debris (Bálint, 2020).

In culture[edit]

A character of Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam book trilogy is named after the lotis blue butterfly.



  1. ^ a b Northern Blue, Butterflies of Canada
  2. ^ a b c "Plebejus idas (Linnaeus, 1761)". Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  3. ^ "5-YEAR REVIEW : Lotis blue butterfly (Plebejus anna lotis)" (PDF). Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  4. ^ "Lotis Blue Butterfly" Archived 2015-10-23 at the Wayback Machine, Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office
  5. ^ "Lotis Blue Butterfly" Archived 2014-06-05 at the Wayback Machine, Xerxes society Profile
  6. ^ Lena Gustafsson, Mårten Berglind, Anders Granström, Achim Grelle, Gunnar Isacsson, Petter Kjellander, Sören Larsson, Magnus Lindh, Lars B. Pettersson, Joachim Strengbom, Bengt Stridh, Tom Sävström, Göran Thor, Lars-Ove Wikars & Grzegorz Mikusiński (2019) Rapid ecological response and intensified knowledge accumulation following a north European mega-fire, Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 34:4, 234-253, DOI: 10.1080/02827581.2019.1603323
  7. ^ a b c "Untitled 1". Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  8. ^ Jim P. Brock, Kenn Kaufman (2003) Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-618-15312-8
  9. ^ a b c "Northern Blue Plebejus idas (Linnaeus, 1761) | Butterflies and Moths of North America". Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  10. ^ a b c "Idas blue - Plebejus idas". Archived from the original on 2019-07-22. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  11. ^ "Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa". Retrieved 25 March 2022.

Babendreier, Kuske, S., & Bigler, F. (2003). Non-target host acceptance and parasitism by Trichogramma brassicae Bezdenko (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) in the laboratory. Biological Control, 26(2), 128–138.

Bálint, & Karbalaye, A. (2020). Plebejus alizadehorum sp. n. from Western Iran (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae: Polyommatinae: Polyommatini). Caucasian Entomological Bulletin, 16(2), 329–334.

Zverev, & Kozlov, M. V. (2021). The Fluctuating Asymmetry of the Butterfly Wing Pattern Does Not Change along an Industrial Pollution Gradient. Symmetry (Basel), 13(4), 626–.

External links[edit]