The collection it originated from had 1 more female from the same locality and date which has all the necessary dots to be identified as Polyommatus icarus and not as Polyommatus thersites. I doubt that the two fly sympatrically although I am no expert (yet) on the details of their biology. The specimen lacks a lot of things, the second row of black dots in forewing, the orange dots on forewing, all the black dots except the discal spots in each wing. Furthermore it lacks the light brown coloration of the wing in general.
Last year was a fantastic season for me with quite a few abs taken, I am hoping next year is good for Pyronia tithonus ab multioccelata, I didn't look for them last year but I will this, weather allowing of course.
Some of the English collectors on here may recall that back in the 80s and maybe early 90s there was a collector called Les Young (long since deceased) who selectively reared P. icarus for many years and produced extreme "radiata" specimens at will. He started off by rearing from a wild-caught female with slightly enlarged spots and reared three generations of several hundred specimens per year. From each brood he selected the most extreme forms for breeding and after only about six generations produced "radiata" specimens that would put the ones shown here to shame; the stock also threw out other types of extreme aberration. He had to do an outcross fairly regularly to strengthen the stock but it only took a generation or two to get the aberrations back.
I used to have quite a few of his specimens but disposed of them some time ago, however he gave quite a few away to acquaintances so I'm sure there must be people out there who still have some of his specimens - he reared thousands of them. His set up to do such intensive breeding of a single species was very impressive.
produced "radiata" specimens that would put the ones shown here to shame;
Those radiata shown here, were caught wild and were not produced by selective breeding. The Double P. icarus ab, Ultra radiata with a pale lilac recto, ab livida Gillmer May be a unique specimen. I have been looking at the blues in the field all my life and have never found a ab radiata, so I believe that they must be rare in the wild . A interesting breeding story and one that is new to me.
There is a very fine pale lilac male recto aberration of P. icarus [ see above ] that J.J. Walker called a lovely lavender variety. There is a specimen in the Dale collection that was captured by a G. king in 1859 and labelled Labiennus - Jermyn. Two other better examples are in a large private collection and one of these was captured in my favourite forest of Savernake in Wiltshire. The specimens shown below all have the usual verso. Later specimens of this aberration seem to have been named livida - Gillmer.
Typical male Wiltshire 2013. Common butterflies often can be among the most beautiful.
The females of P. icarus are very variable and two of my images below show the wide range within this species. Very blue females shown by dunc seems to be rare in most English localities. Here are two more very blue females from the Dale collection.
Here are a few of my icarus females varying from almost blue to completely brown. The second one down on the left is from Tunisia which is beautiful and I'm thinking it is celina. I am originally from Yorkshire and and go there regular and the blue form has always been the dominant one there and here in Berkshire it is too.
Here is my last set of P.icarus aberrations that I photographed in my friend's collection. Looking at his collection and the other specimens posted here, it is quite remarkable the rarity of specimens that can be found in one common species. Also the great variability to be found in the females of this and other blues. I hope that some who collect the Lycaenidae have enjoyed the postings. Unfortunately I cropped the cream of the aberrations of the collection, but you can still see it is a remarkable specimen.