Busting Your Head to Identify a HolyLand Blue Butterfly

Blue Butterfly ( Ventral View ) photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

Not easy to do. I was meticulously scouring the meadows surrounding this small moshav on the slopes of Israel’s Mt. Hermon. Snow on Hermon’s peak, as well as sporadic overflow of conflict at the north base of Hermon (Syrian army, Hezbollah, Iranian fighters, Russian ‘advisors, Syrian ‘rebels,’ US advisors, North Koreans and who knows who else) foreclosed my working the top of this grand mountain.

What was flying in those meadows surrounding Neve Aviv? Mostly blues, coppers, the occasional fritillary and the rare parnassian. April 2017, and Jeff was anxious to find one of those rare blue butterflies that are found on this majestic mountain, at the northereastern border of the HolyLand.

Now the hard part. It’s working with this good enough image to identify which blue we have before us. Just as we are all different, so too are butterflies within the same species different from each other.

Our identification here must be based upon the markings on this individual. The orange spots, the black spots, the marking that we see just inside of the ventral wing margins, the rich blue of the regions close to the body.

Until one of the several Israeli butterfly authorities weigh in, I am, with the single resource before me, A Field Guide To The Butterflies of Israel by Dubi Benyamini, citing this one as Pseudophilotes vicrama astabene. Done.

Jeff