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The Scarce Large Blue can be found in moderately nutrient-rich meadows, edges with rough vegetation and parts of shallow bogs with Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis). In northern Europe, it occurs in open, short vegetation, but in the warm, southern regions, it is also found in rough vegetation. The butterflies tend to keep near the foodplants. The small caterpillars only feed on the flowerheads for two or three weeks. They then go down to the ground where they wait to be picked up by worker ants of the genus Myrmica and carried off to the ants’ nest. There they feed on ant grubs. The caterpillars also hibernate and pupate in the ants’ nest. The main host over most of Europe is Myrmica scabrinodis, with closely related forms or species (with similar management requirements) also used in the south and east. In some regions sufficient individuals also survive with Myrmica rubra for this ant (which prefers later successional stages to Myrmica scabrinodis) to support a few, perhaps temporary, colonies. The Scarce Large Blue has one generation a year. Habitats: humid grasslands and tall herb communities (38%), mesophile grasslands (16%), blanket bogs (12%), water-fringe vegetation (9%), fens, transition mires and springs (9%).

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© Chris van Swaay

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