Lampides boetica

Lampides boetica Linnaeus

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Holometabola, Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae.

Common name: Pea blue, Long-tailed Blue.

Geographical distribution: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and Hawaii.

Morphology: The forewings of the male with a blue tinge, those of female dark grey. Hindwings of both genders with dark spots, a round red spot and a tail-like prolongation, body 13-14 mm long. The young larva is initially yellowish, then becoming light brown to light green, with a red line along the dorsum; length 15-20 mm. The larvae are apodous.

Host plants: Many leguminous plants, including beans and peas.

Life cycle: The females generally lay eggs on the growing tips of the host plants. Freshly emerged larvae bore into and eat flower buds, later feeding on soft seeds within the pods, and pupating on the ground. In the tropics and subtropics the pest occurs throughout the year, and is attended by various ants in different parts of the world. The adult is migratory, a strong flyer and raises 8-9 annual generations in southern China.

Economic importance: The larvae damage flowers and seed pots of peas and beans by feeding on and by webbing them together, and they are a major pest of legumes in India. On the other hand, in New Zealand the blue is considered a biological control agent of gorse (Ulex), an important weed.


Monitoring: The presence of the blue is indicated by the holes in flower buds and pods that signal the emergence of the pest.

Plant resistance: Several cultivars of cowpea (Vigna) were found to be resistant or tolerant to L. boetica in Egypt.

Chemical control: Pyrethroids sprays provided about 80% control in China, and a carbamate application gave complete control of the pest in Egypt.


Doss, S.A. and Faris, F.S., 1989: Relative susceptibility of twenty five cowpea cultivars to Lampides boeticus L. (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) infestation, with special reference to the effect to host plants on some biological aspects. Assiut Journal of Agricultural Sciences 20: 71-81.

Hill, D.S. 1987. Agricultural Insect Pests of Temperate Regions and Their Control. Cambridge University Press, pp. 746.

Long, Q. and Cai, Y. 1995. Biological characteristics of Lampides boeticus L. and its control. CNKI Plant Protection 21: 15-18 (in Chinese with an English abstract).

Mavi, G.S. 1992 critical review on the distribution and host-range of pea blue butterfly, Lampides boeticus (Linn.). Journal of Insect Science 5: 115-119.

Pierce, N.E., Braby, M.F., Heath, A., Lohman, D.J., Mathew. J., Rand, D.B. and Travassos, M.A. 2002. The ecology and evolution of ant association in the Lycaenidae (Lepidoptera). Annual Review of Entomology 47: 733-71.

Web Site