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Brown argus - Aricia agestis
Brown argus - Aricia agestis

Brown argus
The brown argus (Aricia agestis) is a species in the order butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera), the suborder Glossata, the infraorder Heteroneura (section Ditrysia), the superfamily Papilionoidea, the family gossamer winged butterflies (Lycaenidae), the subfamily coppers (Lycaeninae), the tribe Polyommatini, and the genus Aricia. A scientific synonym for this species is Plebeius agestis.
Aricia agestis - Top view
Aricia agestis - Top view
The brown argus is widespread and common in Europe and the Palaearctic ecozone of Asia and Africa. In the temperate zones this species produces 2 new generations a year. The brown argus is not regarded as endangered everywhere, however, in the Red List of Germany it is in Category 3 which means near threatened.
Adult Aricia agestis reach body lengths of 12 - 15 mm. Their wings have spans of 22 - 28 mm. The upper surface of the wings is dark brown in colour. The edges of the wings are orange spotted. The underside of the wings is grey-brown with orange spotted and black areas surrounded by white rings.
The brown argus can be confused with other Lycaenidae species, such as the common blue (Polyommatus icarus) or the northern brown argus (Aricia artaxerxes).
The brown argus is diurnal and as an adult butterfly has a life expectancy of 2 - 3 months. It is active from May to September in warm, dry regions, from the coast up to highland in forest edges, clearings, on stony slopes, in heathland, coastal meadows, dry meadows and calcareous grasslands (dry as well as damp) preferably with limestone soils and an abundance of flowering plants. Yellow rockrose (Helianthemum nummularium), soft cranesbill (Geranium molle), and Erodium cicutarium are among the most important crops for the adults. Here they collect nectar and pollen.
The caterpillars of the last generation overwinter. They pupate in spring of the following year and emerge as adult butterflies in May. The adult brown argus butterflies are active from May to June. During this time they mate and reproduce. The fertilized females always lay their eggs on the host plants of their larvae, on the underside of the leaves. The development from egg to caterpillar takes about 10 - 12 days. After hatching the caterpillars immediately begin feeding on the host plants and after about 60 days they have completed their development. They are greenish and have a pale line lengthwise on each side. When they have reached a length of about 20 mm they pupate. They hatch from the pupae from late July to mid September and produce the second annual generation of caterpillars which overwinter in leaves in frost free places.

Aricia (Aricia) agestis
Common namesBrown Argus, Orange-bordered Argus
German namesKleiner Sonnenröschenbläuling, Kleiner Sonnenröschen-Bläuling, Dunkelbrauner Bläuling, Sonnenröschen-Bläuling, Heidenwiesen-Bräunling
Dutch namesBruin blauwtje
Danish namesRødplettet Blåfugl
Swedish namesRödfläckig blåvinge
Spanish namesMorena serrana
French namesCollier-de-corail, Argus brun, Collier de corail, Le, Le Collier-de-Corail
AuthorDenis & Schiffermüller, 1775
Eco zoneFreshwater

North Europe (British Isles (United Kingdom (Great Britain (England (South England (Southeast England (Kent (East Kent (Folkestone), North Kent), Isle of Wight, Sussex (East Sussex, West Sussex), Surrey county, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Berkshire), Greater London, Southwest England (Wiltshire, Dorsetshire, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Somerset)), East England (Hertfordshire, Essex, Bedfordshire, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire (Cambridge, Huntingdonshire)), English Midlands (East Midlands (Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire), West Midlands (Herefordshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire)), North England (Northwest England (Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester), Northeast England (County Durham))), Wales (North Wales (Denbighshire), South Wales (Southwest Wales (Pembrokeshire))), Scotland))), Germany (West Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia)), Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark), Fennoscandia (Finland), Baltic region (Baltic States (Estonia, Lithuania))), South Europe (Italy (Italy Islands (Sicily), North Italy, South Italy (Abruzzo (L´Aquila)), Central Italy (Lazio (Rome, Frosinone))), Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal, Andorra), San Marino), West Europe (Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), France (North France (Brittany (Ille-Et-Vilaine)), South France (Corsica, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (Rhône-Alpes (Loire)), Occitania (Midi-Pyrenees))), Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Pyrenees), Central Europe (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic (Moravia, Bohemia), Slovakia), Southeast Europe (Romania, Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia (Dalmatia), Macedonia (Republic of Macedonia), Serbia and Montenegro (Serbia), Bosnia and Herzegovina), Bulgaria, Greece (Aegean Islands (Crete)), Albania, Moldova), East Europe (Ukraine, Belarus), Malta
Far East (East Asia (China, Mongolia, Korea (North Korea))), South Asia (India (North India (Jammu and Kashmir (Kashmir))), Pakistan), West Asia (Near East (Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, Iran, Iraq), Palestine), Central Asia (Tajikistan, Turkestan (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan))
Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan
North Africa
Macaronesia (Canary Islands), Morocco
North America
USA (Washington)
Norfolk Island


West Palaearctic

Fossils: Paleozoic,

Distribution by Synonymus:
Aricia medon   Norway
Heodes virgaureae   Finland
Plebeius agestis   Armenia
Heodes virgaureae   Mongolia
Aricia medon   Tajikistan
Heodes virgaureae   Pyrenees
Aricia medon   Kyrgyzstan
Heodes virgaureae   Cantabrian Mountains
CountriesAlbania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, North Korea, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, USA, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan
Links and ReferencesAricia agestis in
Aricia agestis in
Aricia agestis in
Aricia agestis in Wikipedia (English)

Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Brown argus - Aricia agestis
2. Aricia agestis - Top view
Quick search: Brown - Dark - Winged - Butterflies - Argus - Aricia
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Arguses, Brown Argus, Northern Brown Argus
Arguses, Brown Argus, Northern Brown Argus
Aricia agestis
Brown Argus, Orange-bordered Argus
AuthorDenis & Schiffermüller, 1775
Aricia agestis
Aricia agestis agestis
Aricia agestis basialboradia
Aricia agestis calida
Aricia agestis gallica
Aricia agestis subcalida
Aricia astrarche
Aricia medon
Aricia medon albisignata
Aricia medon anteroobsoleta
Aricia medon subcalida
Heodes virgaureae
Lycaena agestis
Lycaena agestis calida
Lycaena agestis gallica
Lycaena astrache
Lycaena astrarche
Lycaena medon
Papilio agestis
Papilio astrarche
Papilio medon
Plebeius agestis
Plebeius astrarche
Plebeius medon
Polyommatus agestis
Polyommatus astrarche
Aricia agestis aestiva
Aricia agestis agestis
Aricia agestis albicans
Aricia agestis albisignata
Aricia agestis albolimbata
Aricia agestis antero-obsoleta
Aricia agestis azerbaidzhana
Aricia agestis caeca
Aricia agestis caeruleosignata
Aricia agestis calida
Aricia agestis crassipuncta
Aricia agestis deleta
Aricia agestis delphica
Aricia agestis directa
Aricia agestis discojuncta
Aricia agestis discreta
Aricia agestis elongata
Aricia agestis gallica
Aricia agestis glomerata
Aricia agestis horkei
Aricia agestis impunctata
Aricia agestis infracandica
Aricia agestis infracaotica
Aricia agestis infralbens
Aricia agestis infraplumbea
Aricia agestis inhonora
Aricia agestis intrusa
Aricia agestis issekutzi
Aricia agestis lilliputana
Aricia agestis lyngensis
Aricia agestis montana
Aricia agestis montensis
Aricia agestis nazira
Aricia agestis nevadensis
Aricia agestis nigropunctata
Aricia agestis obsoleta
Aricia agestis pallidior
Aricia agestis parvipuncta
Aricia agestis pluripuncta
Aricia agestis postico-obsoleta
Aricia agestis radiata
Aricia agestis rambringi
Aricia agestis retrojuncta
Aricia agestis snelleni
Aricia agestis subtus-radiata
Aricia agestis unicolor
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