Polyommatus artaxerxes (Fabricius, 1793)


Polyommatus artaxerxes: Male (Nockalmberge, Austrian Alps, 2000m above sea level) [N] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Males (Nockalmberge, Austrian Alps, 2000 m above sea level) [N] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Female (Nockalmberge, Austrian Alps, 2000m above sea level) [N] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Adult (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, Veringendorf, late June 2011) [N] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Adult (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, Veringendorf, late June 2011) [N] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Lower side (Nockalmberge) [N] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Lower side (Nockalmberge) [N] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Ovum (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany) [N] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Ovum (Nockalmberge) [S] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Young larva (e.o. Nockalmberge, Austrian Alps, 2009) [S] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Half-grown larva (e.o.Nockalmberge) [S] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Larva (e.o. Nockalmberge) [S] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Larva (e.o. Nockalmberge) [S] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Larva (with much red, e.o. Nockalmberge, 2000m above sea level) [S] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Larva with little red, e.o. Nockalmberge) [S] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Larva (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany) [S] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Pupa (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany) [S] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Pupa (e.o. Nockalmberge 2009) [S] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Habitat in the Austrian Nockalmberge in about 2000m above sea level, July 2009 [N] Polyommatus artaxerxes: Habitat in the Valais in 2300m above sea level [N]

Host plants:
Only rock rose (Helianthemum) can currently be considered as a secured host plant in the field. But the species probably uses also Geranium and/or Erodium which are readily accepted in breeding.

Habitat:
Polyommatus artaxerxes inhabits (limestone) grasslands and mountainous meadows and pastures in the Alps and other, also lower mountain ranges from about 500m to 2500m above sea level with a peak between 1000 and 2000m.

Life cycle:
Polyommatus artaxerxes usually flies only in a single generation between June and mid-August. However, uni- and polyvoltine populations merge seamlessly into each other, so on the Swabian Alb, and especially in the lower elevations of the Alps at around 1000m asl. On 15/10/2005 I observed a newly hatched adult of a partial second generation even at 2100m above sea level in Rätikon (west Austria). The young caterpillar overwinters.

Endangerment: regionally endangered or decreasing

Endangerment factors:
Due to the loss of nutrient-poor grasslands, Polyommatus artaxerxes is endangered especially in the lower elevations. In the Alps, the butterfly is however often common and thus less threatened. The extent of damage due to global warming, which favours P. agestis, would be to determine, but a local displacement can be considered as likely.

Remarks:
Polyommatus artaxerxes is not completely separated from Polyommatus agestis. But nature can not be forced into rigid categories. So it is probably described best with the terminus semi-species.

Polyommatus artaxerxes is distributed from Northwest Africa (Atlas Mountains) across many mountain ranges in Europe, northern England, Scotland and Scandinavia to the Asian Altai.

Hints on determination:
Single specimens can not be determined reliably if the conditions of the site are unknown. Polyommatus artaxerxes is slightly larger, darker and shows smaller or even no orange lunules on the upper side, but the differences are subtle and fluent. But some northern populations (e.g. Scotland) show whitish central spots on the forewing uppersides.



Polyommatus admetus | Polyommatus agestis | Polyommatus amandus | Polyommatus argus | Polyommatus argyrognomon | Polyommatus aroaniensis | Polyommatus bellargus | Polyommatus coridon | Polyommatus cramera | Polyommatus damon | Polyommatus daphnis | Polyommatus dolus | Polyommatus dorylas | Polyommatus eros | Polyommatus escheri | Polyommatus eumedon | Polyommatus fabressei | Polyommatus glandon | Polyommatus hispanus | Polyommatus icarus | Polyommatus idas | Polyommatus loewii | Polyommatus nicias | Polyommatus nivescens | Polyommatus orbitulus | Polyommatus pylaon | Polyommatus pyrenaicus | Polyommatus ripartii | Polyommatus semiargus | Polyommatus thersites