Small Blue (Cupido minimus)

Peak District local information

When to see: Extinct

Where to see: Extinct

Behaviour: Perch

Wingspan: 18-27mm

Caterpillar food plant: Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria)

Peak District status: This is the smallest British butterfly species. It was fairly common in limestone areas until the early part of the 20 th century and apparently disappeared around 1915 (Harrison & Sterling 1985). It was next recorded in the Manifold Valley , Staffordshire, in 1979, and then again at two sites in the Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve in 1986. A small population was present at a site near Buxton from 1993 to1996, with a maximum of 8 recorded in 1993. None has been seen there (or elsewhere in the Peak District) for the last 8 years, despite regular surveys by several interested groups, and practical habitat work carried out at the site by the High Peak Local Group of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. The colony is now considered to be extinct. The origin of this population is not completely clear and the possibility of an unofficial introduction cannot be ruled out. The larval food plant, kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria) is fairly widespread but local in the Peak District dales and suitable habitat appears to exist. However, the chances of natural recolonisation of the area appear to be remote as the small blue is not known to migrate over long distances and the nearest current colonies are situated on the Cumbrian coast, in Warwickshire, and the Cotswolds.

Small Blue butterfly