Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 473–493

Flavonoid pigments in chalkhill blue (Lysandra coridon Poda) and other lycaenid butterflies

  • Angela Wilson

DOI: 10.1007/BF01880094

Cite this article as:
Wilson, A. J Chem Ecol (1987) 13: 473. doi:10.1007/BF01880094


Nine flavonoids, namely, kaempferol, kaempferol 7-rharanoside, kaempferol 3-rhamnoside, kaempferol 3-glucoside, kaempferol 3-glucoside, 7-rhamnoside, quercetin 3-glucoside, quercetin 3,7-diglucoside, isorhamnetin 3-glucoside, and isorhamnetin 3,7-diglucoside, have been identified in the body and wings of the chalkhill blue butterflyLysandra coridon Poda. Flavonoids have also been found in 15 of a further 17 lycaenid species examined. Analysis of the two-dimensional paper chromatographic flavonoid patterns and aglycone results has shown that the flavonoid content ofL. coridon and the other lycaenids is dependent on the flavonoid content of the larval diet. Differences in the flavonoid patterns ofL. coridon and its leguminous larval food plantsHippocrepis comosa, Anthyllis vulneraria, andLotus corniculatus, indicate that the ingested flavonoids are metabolized byL. coridon or its gut flora before sequestration. Despite the presence of fiavones, glycoflavones, and isoflavones in the larval food plant species, only flavonols are sequestered by the lycaenid species examined. The relationship between lycaenid butterflies and their larval food plants, and the possible role(s) of flavonoids in lycaenids has been discussed. Interactions between ants, plants, flavonoids, and myrmecophilous lycaenids have also been considered.

Key Words

Lysandra coridonLepidoptereLycaenidaeblue butterfliesflavonoidsflavonolssequestrationtwo-dimensional chromatographywing pigmentationchemical defensemyrmecophilyinsect-plant interactionschemical ecology

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK