Butterflies of the Aricia species group represent a paradigm of unresolved taxonomy, both at the genus and species levels. We studied phylogenetic relationships, biogeography, and systematics based on genetic - nuclear and mitochondrial - and morphometric - external (wings) and internal (genitalia) - data. We show that Aricia is a monophyletic genus comprising the taxa Pseudoaricia, Ultraaricia and Umpria, which are here considered junior synonyms of Aricia. The taxa allous, inhonora, issekutzi, mandzhuriana, myrmecias and transalaica, which have often been raised to species rank, are shown to probably represent subspecies or synonyms. We show that montensis is likely a good species that is sister to all A. artaxerxes populations across the Palearctic region. The species A. anteros and A. morronensis are shown to display deep intraspecific divergences and they may harbor cryptic species. We also discovered that A. cramera and A. agestis exhibit a pattern of mutual exclusion on islands, and a parapatric distribution in mainland with a narrow contact zone where potential hybrids were detected. The lack of a prezygotic barrier that prevents their coexistence could explain this phenomenon. This study will hopefully contribute to the stability of the systematics of Aricia, a group with potential for the study of the link between speciation and biogeography. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.