Overview

Brief Summary

The Arctic Blue or Glandon Blue (Agriades glandon) is a butterfly of the Lycaenidae family. In North America it is found from Alaska east to Newfoundland, south through the mountains to Washington, northern Arizona, and northern New Mexico. In Europe, it is found in mountainous areas like the Pyrenees and Alps, as well as the far north. It is also found in parts of Russia, including Siberia, and Kamchatka.

The wingspan is 17–26 mm. The butterfly flies from mid-May to September depending on the location (Butterflies of Canada).

Recorded food plants include Astragalus species (including Astragalus alpinus), Androsace species (including Androsace bungeana and Androsace septentrionalis), Soldanella, Diapensia, Vaccinium, and Saxifraga species (including Saxifraga bronchialis, Saxifraga spinulosa, and Saxifraga oppositifolia).

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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Eastern Alaska east to Labrador; south to Sierra Nevada of California, the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico, and the Black Hills of South Dakota.

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Range Description

This species is restricted to the Alps and Pyrenees. Found at altitudes from 1,500-2,700 m. This is a European endemic species.
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Physical Description

Type Information

Type for Argus aquilo Boisduval, 1832
Catalog Number: USNM
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology
Locality: Lapp. Labrador, Newfoundland, Canada
  • Type:
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Arctic tundra, subarctic and subalpine forests, mountain meadows, bogs.

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
In Central Europe, Glandon Blues are found up to the snow-line on grassy vegetation, where the foodplants grow on open patches, such as on scree slopes and beside streams. On calcareous soils, Androsace chamaejasme is used and on non-calcareous soils, the caterpillars feed on A. obtusifolia and Vitaliana primuliflora. The caterpillars feed on the leaves and sometimes the flowers of the foodplants. The Glandon Blue hibernates as a caterpillar and has one generation a year. Habitats: Alpine and subalpine grasslands (61%), screes (15%), dry calcareous grasslands and steppes (7%), heath and scrub (7%), dry siliceous grasslands (7%).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

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Global Abundance

10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

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General Ecology

In Scandinavia, the Arctic Blue occurs above the timber line, mainly on south facing slopes with slate and shale rocks with patches of low alpine vegetation, particularly in areas with limestone or otherwise mineral rich ground. The females deposit the eggs on Yellow Mountain Saxifrage (Saxifraga aizoides) and Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia). The small caterpillars first feed on the flower buds and hibernate. Later, they also feed on the leaves. The Arctic Blue is single-brooded.

  • Eliasson CU, Ryrholm N, Holmer M, Jilg K, Gärdenfors U (2005) Nationalnyckeln till Sveriges flora och fauna. Fjärilar: Dagfjärilar. Hesperiidae - Nymphalidae. ArtDatabanken, SLU, Uppsala, 407 pp.
  • Henriksen HJ, Kreutzer I (1982) The butterflies of Scandinavia in Nature. Skandinavisk Bogvorlag, Odense, 215 pp.
  • Välimäki P, Männistö K, Kaitila J-P (2011) Katsaus Enontekiön uhanalaisiin tunturiperhoslajeihin ja tunturiperhosseurannan esiintymisaluehavaintoihin vuosina 2008–2011. [Threatened butterflies and moths in high fjelds of Le Enontekiö with special reference to observations during monitoring scheme of subarctic Lepidoptera 2008–2011]. Baptria 36: 70-90.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Plebejus glandon

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 157
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Plebejus glandon

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There is 1 barcode sequence available from BOLD and GenBank.   Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.  Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGATCTTTAATCGGAGATGATCAAATTTATAATACTATTGTTACAGCTCATGCATTTATTATAATTTTTTTTATAGTTATACCTATTATAATTGGAGGATTTGGTAATTGATTGGTTCCTTTAATATTAGGAGCACCTGATATAGCTTTCCCACGAATAAATAATATAAGATTTTGATTATTACCTCCATCATTAATATTATTAATTTCTAGAAGAATTGTAGAAAATGGAGCAGGAACAGGATGAACAGTTTACCCCCCACTTTCATCTAATATCGCACATAGAGGATCATCTGTAGATTTAGCAATTTTCTCTCTTCATTTAGCTGGAATTTCTTCAATTTTAGGAGCTATTAATTTTATTACAACTATCATTAATATACGAGTAAATAATTTATCTTTTGATCAAATATCATTATTTATTTGAGCAGTAGGTATTACTGCTCTATTATTACTTTTATCTTTACCTGTATTAGCTGGAGCAATTACTATATTATTAACTGACCGAAATTTAAATACTTCATTTTTTGATCCNGCTGGAGGAGGAGATCCAATTTTATATCAACATTTATTT
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Plebejus aquilo

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Widespread and common in boreal western North America.

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2010

Assessor/s
van Swaay, C., Wynhoff, I., Verovnik, R., Wiemers, M., López Munguira, M., Maes, D., Sasic, M., Verstrael, T., Warren, M. & Settele, J.

Reviewer/s
Lewis, O. (Butterfly RLA) & Cuttelod, A. (IUCN Red List Unit)

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Least Concern, since it has not been declining by more than 25% in the last ten years, its European extent of occurrence (EOO) is larger than 20,000km² and its population size is probably larger than 10,000 adult individuals.
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Population

Population
This species is widespread in the mountainous areas of Europe. Declines in distribution or population size of 6-30% have been reported from Austria (data provided by the national partners of Butterfly Conservation Europe).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Degree of Threat: D : Unthreatened throughout its range, communities may be threatened in minor portions of the range or degree of variation falls within natural variation

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Major Threats
Although this species shows a decline in a part of its European range, it is not believed to face major threats at the European level.
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Management

Global Protection: Many to very many (13 to >40) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

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Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species occurs in a number of protected areas across its range. No specific conservation actions are needed at a European level, but in countries where the species is in decline important habitats should be protected and managed. The effects of conservation actions should be monitored by a Butterfly Monitoring Scheme.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: This database follows the arrangement presented by Pelham (2008). In the last half century the names glandon, aquilo, franklinii and rustica have all been applied at the species-level to some or all populations of this complex in North America (e.g. Miller and Brown (1981), Ferris (1989), and Opler (1992, 1999)). It is unclear whether or not the name aquilo should be applied to the North American fauna. Until a lectotype or neotype for aquilo is designated, this issue will remain problematic. Nekrutenko (1974) showed that there are no consistent genitalic characteristics by which glandon and aquilo may be separated. Yakovlev and Churkin (2003) and Churkin (2005) discussed the use of the name glandon for all of these populations. Since no thorough analysis of North American populations has yet been presented, Pelham (2008) states that the arrangement is tentative.

Opler and Warren (2002) followed the treatment presented by Gorbunov (2001).

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The Arctic Blue, Plebejus (Agriades) aquilo, is a holarctic butterfly in the family Lycaenidae. The circumscription of this species is problematic since there are no genitalic characteristics to distinguish it from the closely related Glandon Blue, Plebejus (Agriades) glandon (Nekrutenko 1974, Pelham 2011). Some authors therefore treat it as a subspecies of Plebejus glandon (Karsholt & Razowski 1996, van Swaay et al. 1999).

  • Nekrutenko, Y.P. 1974. Comparative notes on certain West-Palearctic species of Agriades, with description of a new subspecies of A. pyrenaicus from Turkey (Lycaenidae). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 28(3):278-288.
  • Karsholt, O. and J. Razowski. 1996. The Lepidoptera of Europe. A Distributional Checklist. Apollo Books.
  • Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. Lafontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press.
  • Pelham, J. P. 2011. A Catalogue of the Butterflies of the United States and Canada with a Complete Bibliography of the Descriptive and Systematic Literature. Online version accessed at butterfliesofamerica.com/US-Can-Cat-1-30-2011.htm 16 April 2012.
  • van Swaay, C. and M. Warren. 1999. Red Data Book of European Butterflies (Rhopalocera). Nature and Environment, No. 99. Council of Europe Publishing. [available online]
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