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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Cladus: Panarthropoda
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Subclassis: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Infraclassis: Neoptera
Cladus: Eumetabola
Cladus: Endopterygota
Superordo: Panorpida
Cladus: Amphiesmenoptera
Ordo: Lepidoptera
Subordo: Glossata
Cladus: Coelolepida
Cladus: Myoglossata
Cladus: Neolepidoptera
Infraordo: Heteroneura
Cladus: Eulepidoptera
Cladus: Ditrysia
Cladus: Apoditrysia
Cladus: Obtectomera
Superfamilia: Papilionoidea

Subfamilia: Polyommatinae
Tribus: Polyommatini
Genus: Celastrina
Species: Celastrina argiolus
Subspecies: C. a. argiolus – C. a. bieneri – C. a. caphis – C. a. cinerea – C. a. echo – C. a. gozora – C. a. hypoleuca – C. a. iynteana – C. a. kollari – C. a. ladon – C. a. ladonides – C. a. lucia – C. a. mauretanica – C. a. sugurui

Celastrina argiolus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Type = holotype, LS(L) ♀
Type locality = Europe


Basionym: Papilio argiolus Linnaeus, 1758
Papilio cleobis Sulzer, 1776: 146, pl. 18, figs 13, 14.
Papilio thersanon Bergsträsser, 1779: 4, pl. 49, figs 4, 6.
Papilio argyphontes Bergsträsser, 1779: 15, pl. 58, figs 5, 6.
Papilio argalus Bergsträsser, 1779: 18, pl. 60, figs 4, 5.
Papilio (Argus) marginatus Retzius, 1783: 30.
Cupido argiolus (Linnaeus); Kirby, 1871: 371.
Lycaenopsis argiolus calidogenita Verity, 1919: 46.
Lycaenopsis argiolus brittana Verity, 1919: 46.
Lycaenopsis argiolus mixta (form) Verity, 1919: 47.

Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Editio Decima, Reformata. Tomus I. Holmiæ (Stockholm): impensis direct. Laurentii Salvii. 824 pp. DOI: 10.5962/bhl.title.542 BHL p. 483 BHL Reference page.

Additional references

Eliot, J. N. & Kawazoé, A. 1983. Blue butterflies of the Lycaenopsis group. British Museum (Natural History), London. ISBN 0-565-00860-9 Reference page.
Verity, R. 1919. Seasonal Polymorphism and Races of some European Grypocera and Rhopalocera. The Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation 31: 26-31, 43–48, 121-129, 178-184, 193-201; 32: 3-8, 140-152. Reference page.


Celastrina argiolus Taxon details on Fauna Europaea
ZooBank: DFCAAC2F-6F63-459B-B395-923BF0B213CA

Vernacular names
Cymraeg: Glesyn y celyn
dansk: Skovblåfugl
Deutsch: Faulbaum-Bläuling
English: Holly Blue
suomi: Paatsamasinisiipi
français: Azuré des nerpruns
Frysk: Sprakelbeamblaujurkje
Gaelg: Gorrymag hollin
hrvatski: Krkovin plavac
magyar: Bengeboglárka
日本語: ルリシジミ
lietuvių: Žydrasis melsvys
Nederlands: Boomblauwtje
norsk: Vårblåvinge
polski: Modraszek wieszczek
Piemontèis: Celastrina argiolus
svenska: Tosteblåvinge

The holly blue (Celastrina argiolus)[1] is a butterfly that belongs to the lycaenids or blues family and is native to the Palearctic.
Figs 1, 1a, 1b larva after last moult, from holly 1c, 1d larva after last moult, from ivy 1e pupa from holly

The holly blue has pale silver-blue wings spotted with pale ivory dots. Seitz describes it "Male above shining violet blue, only the apical portion of the costal margin being minutely edged with white. The female has both wings broadly bordered with dark, the margin of the hindwing bearing vestiges of ocelli. Underside silver-white, in the disc a row of black dots, some of which are elongate, and before the margin blackish shadowy dots. Egg very flat, whitish. Larva green or brown, marked with yellowish white, bearing catenulate stripes on the back, on segment 7 a gland to attract ants; head brown. On Ivy, Ilex, Evonymus, Rhamnus, Robinia, Genista, Spartium, Astragalus, Rubus, Erica, Pyrus and many other plants; in Europe visited usually by ants of the genus Lasius; in June and the autumn. Pupa mostly fastened to the underside of a leaf, ochreous with brown spots and markings. The butterflies in the spring and again in July, occasionally a third time at the end of August and in September, everywhere common, particularly at the flowers of ivy and brambles."[2] In Europe, the first generation feeds mainly on the holly species Ilex aquifolium but the second generation uses a range of food plants.[3]

The holly blue is the national butterfly of Finland.[4]


This species was originally described as Papilio argiolus by Carl 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 & North 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

Common names

In India, C. argiolus is known as the hill hedge blue.[5]


Found in Eurasia. and South Asia, it occurs from Chitral in Pakistan to Kumaon in India.[5]
See also

List of butterflies of India
List of butterflies of India (Lycaenidae)
List of butterflies of Great Britain


Beccaloni, G.; Scoble, M.; Kitching, I.; Simonsen, T.; Robinson, G.; Pitkin, B.; Hine, A.; Lyal, C., eds. (2003). "Celastrina argiolus". The Global Lepidoptera Names Index. Natural History Museum. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
Seitz, A. ed. Band 1: Abt. 1, Die Großschmetterlinge des palaearktischen Faunengebietes, Die palaearktischen Tagfalter, 1909, 379 Seiten, mit 89 kolorierten Tafeln (3470 Figuren)
Butterfly Conservation A-Z of butterflies Archived 2010-06-20 at the Wayback Machine
"Finland's national butterfly is the holly blue - Suomi 100". Archived from the original on 2018-06-19. Retrieved 2017-08-01.

Evans, W.H. (1932). The Identification of Indian Butterflies (2nd ed.). Mumbai, India: Bombay Natural History Society. pp. 221–226, ser no H21.24.

Beccaloni, George; Scoble, Malcolm; Kitching, Ian; Simonsen, Thomas; Robinson, Gaden; Pitkin, Brian; Hine, Adrian; Lyal, Chris. "The Global Lepidoptera Names Index (LepIndex)". Natural History Museum, London. Retrieved 2016-10-15.
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.). Mumbai, India: Bombay Natural History Society.
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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