Melitaea diamina

False Heath Fritillary


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2018

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Photo: diamina

Vaud, Switzerland, June 2011

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Fribourg, Switzerland, June 2015

Field notes and information

Very heavy dark markings characterise this species.

Identification & Similar species: The very heavy black markings, particularly on the upperside hindwing, separate this species from similar ones such as the heath, Grison's, meadow, Nickerl's, Assman's and Provencal fritillaries, M. athalia, M. varia, M. parthenoides, M. aurelia, M. britomartis & M. deione.

Widespread from north Spain, south & east France and eastwards into south Scandinavia and Bulgaria. I've found it in central Italy where it appears to be rare and underrecorded. Usually a single brood in May/ July depending on altitude, and may have a second brood in some warmer regions.

Habitat & Behaviour: Damp flowery meadows from low to alpine levels.

Variation: Highly variable in extent of black markings and level of variegation of upperside ground colour.

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SE Serbia, June 2012

Roosting in late evening.

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2016

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SW Serbia, June 2012

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2012

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Piedmont, Italy, July 2012

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2015

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Pirin Mts, Bulgaria, July 2004

In Bulgaria his butterfly seems to have a less heavily marked upperside hindwing.

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Vaud, Switzerland, July 2031

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Jura, France, June 2014