Family - LYCAENIDAE
tribe - TOMARINI
Tomares ballus, Dudar, Granada, Andalucia, Spain
© Peter Bruce-Jones
The genus Tomares comprises of 8 species -
ballus and romanovi. Only 2 species are found in Europe -
and nogelli, with the ranges of the other species not quite
reaching the European boundary.
Males of all species are dark brown
above, but the females have large patches of metallic orange on
both wings. the underside hindwings vary considerably according to
species - e.g. mauretanicus is mottled in shades of grey and
brown, ballus is plain green, and
nogelli is grey with a linear
series of orange and black spots.
Tomares ballus is found in Portugal, Spain and the
Mediterranean coast of France. It also occurs in Morocco, Algeria,
Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
This species inhabits open dry flowery habitats where the sward is
short and fairly sparse. It can be found at elevations between sea
level and about 1700m.
The egg is laid singly on leaf buds of the foodplants. These vary according to locality and include Lotus,
Medicago, Dorycnium and Anthyllis (
Fabaceae ). The larvae are attended by Plagiolepis ants and probably pupate within the ant nests
although this is not confirmed.
Tolman records that at high elevations after severe overnight
frosts very torpid adults have been found lying with closed wings
on rocks. As the rocks are warmed by the morning sun the
butterflies slowly regain the use of their legs and raise
themselves, adjusting their position regularly so that the under
surface of their wings remain perpendicular to the sun's rays.