Named after a greek god of beauty and desire, it’s easy to see how the Adonis blue got its title. Both the vibrant blue males and speckled brown females have an undeniable visual appeal, but until recently the species had been undergoing a devastating decline due to damaging agricultural practices within its chalk grassland habitat. Over 90 per cent of Adonis blues have disappeared from Britain since 1950.
Oddly, global warming seems to have done these butterflies a favour: they thrive in hot weather, so previously unsuitable habitats have now become perfect homes for the azure-coloured insects. Nevertheless, they remain the UK’s rarest blue butterfly species, and can only be found in central southern England.
Adonis blues are fussy eaters, feeding solely on the horseshoe vetch plant. Caterpillars gorge themselves before undergoing metamorphosis and transforming into brilliantly coloured butterflies, who continue to feed on the plant throughout adulthood.