Yesterday, during a successful and extremely eventful search for the caterpillars of the Silver-studded Blue (Plebeius argus) butterfly amongst the Penhale Dunes on the North Cornish Coast, we saw 4 Brown Argus (Aricia agestis) and a single female Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus). This is four weeks ealier than last year’s first sighting of Brown Argus in Cornwall and two weeks earlier for Common Blue.
Click the link for more posts and video of our trip to Gear Sands, part of the Penhale Dunes.
Insight into Brown Argus (Aricia agestis): In Cornwall this small brown butterfly is mainly found in the dune systems of the north west Coast. Nationally its distribution is more widespread and it may be found in a range of habitats such as heathland, dunes, woodland rides and rough set aside grasslands.
The main populations are in the south but there are recent indications it’s extending its range northwards. It is not found in Scotland where the close relative the Northern Brown Argus (Aricia artaxerxes) is found.
The Brown Argus can be confused with the female of several blue butterfly species, particularly when worn, but the pattern of spots on the underwings can confirm identification.