This is an excellent species - stunning, rare and
extremely localised. It occurs only in two small areas of north Africa,
one area of FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and a couple of mountains in Romania and Greece. The
north African subspecies fatma is arguably the brightest and most
beautiful with more extensive orange and blue on the upperside. Some
authors consider the subspecies fatma to be distinct species. Looking at
the wing markings alone and it does look rather different from the Greek
specimens I've also photographed.
Our specimen above was one of only 3 we found in a rough dry grassy
area bordering the cedar forests of the Middle Atlas mountains. They
were flying in May and we had the impression they were fairly early in
their season. The books would suggest we were nearing the end of their
season but very cold weather on our arrival in mid May probably
prolonged their flight time.