Melitaea ornata

Aegean Fritillary

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2016

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Photo: ornata

Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

Photo: ornata

Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

Field notes and information

Very similar to the knapweed fritiallary M. phoebe this species has been subjected to a roller coaster ride of naming by the taxonomists. Known variously by the names telona, emipunica, ogygia the current name is ornata.

Identification & Similar species: It may be possible to separate populations of this species and the knapweed fritillary M. phoebe. The submarginal markings on the underside hindwing of the current species don't touch at the veins. Those of M. phoebe do touch forming a continuous line. There is some uncertainty that this criterion is valid but it may work if a number of individuals are evaluated from a given population.

The sure method of separating these species is at the final larval stage. The colour of the head case is definitive: red in this species compared to black in the knapweed fritillary M. phoebe.

Distribution & Flight: A south east European species, its range is little understood due to the difficulties of separating it form the knapweed fritillary M. phoebe. It has been found once in France, is resident in Sicily, S Greece and the Greek islands close to the Turkish mainland and northwards into Slovenia and Hungary.

Single brooded in late spring - May to June.

Habitat & Behaviour: Dry meadows upto 1800m but usually lower.

Photo: ornata

Sicily, May 2000

Photo: ornataPhoto: ornata

Sicily, May 2000

Photo: ornata

Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013