Melitaea didyma

Spotted Fritillary


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

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Valais, Switzerland, April 2020

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2022

Field notes and information

A very bright red-orange species that is widespread and common over much of Europe.

Identification & Similar species: Upperside black markings are less dense than the similar species the lesser spotted fritillary M. trivia which flies in north Spain, sporadically in north and central Italy and southeast Europe. The upperside black border is solid and uniform usually touching the post discal arches. The underside hindwing marginal spots are approximately triangular rather than rounded. The current species is often a very bright orange red.

In north Africa, the desert fritillary deserticola is found in the hottest driest places, and it can overlap with the current species. It is more orange and with reduced upperside black markings. The antennae are orange beneath, compared to black with just an orange tip. The underside of the abdomen is orange, compared to white in the current species.

Distribution & Flight: N Africa and Europe north to northern France, central Germany and Poland. Multiple brooded from March in north Africa, April/ May in Europe until autumn.

Habitat & Behaviour: Hot dry flowery places in grassland, woodland, villages, roadsides etc.

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Valais, Switzerland, August 2019

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Anti-Atlas, Morocco, March 2022

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2022

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Hautes Alpes, France, August 2012

The dark female form meridionalis.

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2013

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2021

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2020

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Var, France, July 2010

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Valais, Switzerland, August 2019

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Peloppenesos, Greece, July 2018