Issoria lathonia

Queen of Spain Fritillary


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

Show butterflies of: EU US
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SE Serbia, June 2012

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Valais, Switzerland, February 2021

Field notes and information

The underside of this species sports remarkable reflective patches - "pearls" a queen may wear.

Identification & Similar species: The large underside "pearls" are distinctive. The highly concave forewing margin and angled hindwing are distinctive, visible in flight to the trained eye.

Distribution & Flight: Widespread and often common across all of Europe except the UK and Scandinavia where it is a rare migrant. Occasionally becomes temporarily resident in the UK, a colony may last several years (e.g. Minesmere, southeast England in the early 2000s). Also north Africa.

Habitat & Behaviour: Hot dry places, often amongst cultivation. In Switzerland it is associated strongly, but by no means exclusively, with vineyards at low levels in the Valais. A migrant, more northerly populations are reinforced annually by migration from the south.

Variation: Spring brood butterflies have a greenish dusting around the wing edges and basally. They are also smaller than the following broods.

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SE Serbia, June 2012

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2020

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Valais, Switzerland, February 2021

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Valais, Switzerland, March 2012

Eggs hiding under the leaf in center shot.

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Valais, Switzerland, April 2011

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2016

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Valais, Switzerland, March 2012

Even when mating, the new couple is approached by males. The red fluid is discharge from the newly emerged female. She probably hasn't even flown yet.

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Malaga, Spain, May 2019

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2016

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Corsica, France, July 2012

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Valais, Switzerland, March 2018

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Valais, Switzerland, March 2012

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Valais, Switzerland, August 2013

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Madrid, Spain, July 2011

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Burgos, Spain, July 2011

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Vaud, Switzerland, May 2011