Coloured historical art of large blue butterflies

Coloured historical art of large blue butterflies

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Credit: GEORGE BERNARD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Large blue. Coloured historical engraving of large blue butterflies (Maculinea arion). This is an extremely rare butterfly of Northern Europe. One reason for their scarcity is their delicate life- cycle. The caterpillars (not seen) feed first on thyme plants, but suddenly lose interest. Ants become attracted to a gland on their back, and carry the caterpillar to their nest, where it feeds on ant grubs. In the nest it pupates and metamorphoses into the butterfly. It was declared extinct in the British Isles in 1979, but attempts were made between 1983 and 1986 to introduce butterflies from Sweden. Engraving from a book published in 1853.

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Keywords: animal, artwork, butterfly, endangered species, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, large blue, maculinea arion, nature, type, wildlife, zoology

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