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Little Tiger Blue

Tarucus balkanicus (Freyer, 1844)

Status

Description

A small butterfly with a dark upperside, and underside white with black spots, and a tail on the hindwing. The upperside of the male is violet-blue, with some dark spots, whereas the female is brown. In Corfu, the upperside of the forewings in the female could be confused with those of the female Leptotes pirithous. However, the underside markings are quite distinctive making it relatively easy to separate on examination from Leptotes pirithous.

Habitat Requirements

We have a very limited understanding of the habitat preferences of this species, what clues we do have are outlined in the 'observations' section below.

Larval Foodplants

Jerusalem Thorn or Christ’s Thorn Paliurus spina-christi.

Observations

The first record of this species in Corfu was made by Baldock & Bretherton who reported one female in fair condition from Kaminaki, on 22nd August 1980. Dan Danahar both photographed and filmed approximately 8 individuals courting and nectaring on a small plant of a Heliotropium spp., on Kalami beach on the 24 August 2007. This behavioural observation of individuals in close proximity was similar to that described in personal communications with Rob Parker who spoke of 6 to 8 individuals congregating closely around a bush of its host plant, in Cyprus.

Over the course of a two week stay in August 2020, Max Anderson made an extensive survey of the beaches along this north eastern coastline of Corfu. Whilst he reported identifying both Paliurus spina-christi and Heliotropium spp. he found no butterflies. Chris Little, who lives along this coast has been looking for the Little Tiger Blue since 2014 and has yet to encounter the species. 

The 27 year gap between Baldock & Bretherton's sighting and that of Danahar's on the same coast where Anderson & Little had no success finding the species, suggest that the Little Tiger Blue is a rare migrant. It is most probable that immigrants butteflies come from Albania, which is only 2 miles or 3.6 km away at its nearest point to the Corfiot coast.

In central Greece and Albania the species can be locally common.

 

 

*The information provided in the tables below is based on verified sightings of the Little Tiger Blue submitted via this website since 1st January 2021.

First and Last Sightings

Year First Last/latest # Days
2022 01/08/2022 01/08/2022 0 days

Number of Observations

Year Number of observations
2022 1
2021 0
Grand Total 1

Distribution Map

Distribution maps for this species are currently unavailable.

Flight Times for the Little Tiger Blue (2022)

The chart below shows flight data by month for 2022 submitted online since 1st January 2022 to 26th September 2022.

Flight Times for the Little Tiger Blue (All Data)

The chart below shows flight data by month based on all data submitted online since 1st January 2019 to 26th September 2022.

Taxonomy

  • Vernacular/Common Name: Little Tiger Blue
  • Family: Lycaenidae (Leach, 1815)
  • Sub-family: Polyommatinae (Swainson 1831)
  • Tribe: Polyommatini (Swainson 1831)
  • Sub-tribe: Castaliina ()
  • Genus: Tarucus (Moore, 1881)
  • Species: balkanicus (Freyer, 1844)

References

For a list of references, please see our bibliography page.