Araschnia levana

Map

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2016

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Photo: levana

Vaud, Switzerland, May 2008

Photo: levana

SE Serbia, June 2012

Field notes and information

This species shows the most dramatic seasonal dimorphism of all the European butterflies. The spring form has an orange ground colour on the upperside with angular black spots, with a passing resemblance to the fritillaries. The summer brood by contrast is is black with a white band, recalling the white admirals, Limenitis, species.

Once introduced into the UK it thrived for a few years before being exterminated by a someone who disagreed with introductions. Proof that over collecting can destroy isolated colonies of butterflies!!!

Identification & Similar species: The underside is unique, resembling a street map. Superficially similar to some of the fritillaries in the spring brood, the angular spots distinguish it.

Distribution & Flight: France and eastwards across central Europe. Flies in May/ June and July/ August.

Habitat & Behaviour: Wooded bushy places, often damp. Glides effortlessly around bushes and along woodland edges with brief flicks of the wing.

Photo: levana

SW Serbia, June 2012

Photo: levana

Vaud, Switzerland, September 2013

Photo: levana

Florina, Greece, May 2004

Spring generation underside showing 'map' like markings.

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Vaud, Switzerland, May 2008

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Vaud, Switzerland, July 2010

Photo: levana

Vaud, Switzerland, July 2008

Resting in the shade on the underside of the larval food plant, stinging nettle, Urtica dioica.

Photo: levana

Rila Mts, Bulgaria, July 2004

Summer generation.

Photo: levana

Florina, Greece, May 2004

Spring generation, the orange form.

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Vaud, Switzerland, September 2013

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Vaud, Switzerland, September 2013

Photo: levana

Vaud, Switzerland, September 2013