Tarucus balkanicus (Freyer, 1885) Balkan Pierrot or Little Tiger Blue, Azure de l'argolou, Голубянка балканская, Բալկանական կապտաթիթեռ
Distribution and biological peculiarities in Armenia: The species is found in Mauritania, Niger (the Air region), Sudan (Khartoum), Uganda, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, North Africa, the Balkans, Western Asia, parts of Central Asia and in India. Supposedly, Armenia is inhabited by nominate subspecies, although it is still a question that requires clarification. It occurs in semi-deserts of South-eastern and North-eastern regions of the country, occupying elevation range form 400 to 1000 m a.s.l. Among the host plants of Little Tiger Blue in Caucasus the Paliurus spina-christi and Heliotropium spp. are listed, however which one (if not both) is used in Armenia is not yet clarified. Presumably the species gives three generations per year, as the butterflies have been recorded from late April till end of August.
Population dynamics: The species is slightly uncommon within typical habitat, and demonstrates stable population trend. It appears that small level of nomadic grazing in semi-deserts is not affecting the species yet. However it should be mentioned that the Little Tiger Blue is not occurring in the areas, which have been transformed under orchards.
Conservation measures: The species is not included in the Global and National Red Lists, as well as in CITES and Bern Conventions, however it was evaluated for the European Red Book as Least Concern, and it appears that the Little Tiger Blue deserves the same status for Armenia. The current distribution range of the species is partly covered by Zangezur Biosphere Complex and the Emerald Site Arevik, but the species is presented in Prime Butterfly Areas Shvanidzor, Kaladash, Meghri, and Agarak. At current there is no need for additional conservation measures, however, it is important to continue the species' monitoring for early determination of the population change as well as to consider careful Environmental Assessments of new orchards projects.