11 March 2022

Mediterranean Tiger Blue - Dhahran Lake

Whilst walking around the lake in Dhahran in mid-January I saw a fresh female Mediterranean Tiger Blue Tancus rosaceus butterfly that was feeding on its common hostplant Zizyphus spina-christi. These butterflies are not common in the Dhahran area but can sometimes be seen in the early part of the year until April. They are approximately 18-22 mm in size. It is like Little Tiger Blue Tarucus balkanicus but the underside of the hind-wing line proximal to spots is broken at the veins. The upperside of the wing of the male is blue with fewer spots, whilst the females are hard to separate. The family Tarucus is commonly known as Blue Pierrots and the caterpillars are typically feed on Zizyphus, a genus of spiny shrubs and small trees in the Buckthorn family and are attended by ants. I thank Dubi Benyamini for help with identification.