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Holly blue

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 holly (Ilex aquifolium) but the second generation uses a range of foodplants.[2]


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:

The argiolus group

Palaearctic & N. African

  • C. a. argiolus
  • C. a. bieneri
  • C. a. hypoleuca
=paraleuca Rober
  • C. a. mauretanica
=algirica Oberthur
The kollari group

South and South-East Asian

  • C. a. iynteana
=sikkima Moore
=victoria Swinhoe
=herophilus Fruhstorfer
=cition Fruhstorfer
=bothrinoides Chapman
=puspargiolus Chapman
=albocaeruloides Chapman
  • C. a. kollari
=kasmira Moore
=coelestina Kollar
=trita Swinhoe
The ladonides group

Far Eastern

  • C. a. caphis
=crimissa Fruhstorfer
  • C. a. ladonides
=levettii Butler
=sachalinensis Esaki
=heringi Kardakoff
  • C. a. sugurui
The ladon group

North and Central American

  • C. a. cinerea
=arizonensis Edwards
  • C. a. echo
  • C. a. gozora
  • C. a. ladon
=pseudargiolus Boisduval
=violacea Edwards
=neglectamajor Tutt
  • C. a. lucia
=neglecta Edwards
=marginata Edwards
=argentata Fletcher

Common names[edit]

In India, C. argiolus is known as the hill hedge blue.[3] In North America, the ladon group of subspecies are known as the spring azure.[4] Also the name Echo blue is used for the C. a. echo western subspecies.[5]


Found in North America, Central America, Eurasia. and South Asia, it occurs from Chitral in Pakistan to Kumaon in India.[3]

Bottom sides of the wings

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Card for argiolus in LepIndex. Accessed 14 October 2006.
  2. ^ Butterfly Conservation A-Z of butterflies
  3. ^ a b Evans,W.H.(1932) The Identification of Indian Butterflies, ser no H21.24, pp 221-226
  4. ^ Tveten, John & Gloria (1996). Butterflies of Houston & southeast Texas. Austin: University of Texas Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0292781436. 
  5. ^ Powell & Hogue (1980). California Insects. California Natural History Guides. p. 240. ISBN 0520037820. 
  • Beccaloni, G. W., Scoble, M. J., Robinson, G. S. & Pitkin, B. (Editors) (2003). The Global Lepidoptera Names Index (LepIndex). World Wide Web electronic publication. [accessed 14 October 2006].
  • Eliot, J. N. and Kawazoe, A., 1983. Blue butterflies of the Lycaenopsis group: 1-309, 6 pls. London.
  • Evans, W.H. (1932). The Identification of Indian Butterflies. (2nd Ed), Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India.
  • Willmott, Ken and Freed, Tim (1999). The Holly Blue Butterfly. Butterfly Conservation, Colchester, UK, 20p. ISBN 0-9522602-7-1.
  • "Celastrina argiolus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 6 February 2006. 


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