Argynnis pandora



by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

Show butterflies of: EU US
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Madrid, Spain, July 2011

Male showing scent brands.

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Corsica, France, July 2012

Field notes and information

A large species with a distinctive and dramatic underside forewing intense pink patch (water-melon red). The hindwing is a rich reflective green with bold white stripes. The upperside is a dark grey-green which is distinctive in flight.

Identification & Similar species: Similar to the silver-washed fritillary, A. paphia, which lacks the pink on the underside of this species and the grey-green of the upperside.

Distribution & Flight: From central France across Europe and south into north Africa and the Canary islands. Single brooded in the north in May/ June and double brooded in the south with a second brood in August/ September when it can be very common.

In autumn 2013 several individuals were discovered in Valais, Switzerland. In 2014 they were again at the same and nearby locations suggesting colonisation. Observations in 2015 may confirm this.

Habitat & Behaviour: Forests and woodland. Adores feeding from thistles and allied plants. The males can be territorial and will form territories centered on a branch of a tree at the edge of woodland. Here he will chase butterflies as they pass along the woodland margin. This branch is normally 2 or 3 meters above head height where they are just out of reach of the camera.

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Madrid, Spain, July 2011


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Valais, Switzerland, May 2021

Male above with scent brands clearly visible and female with notably larger spots on the forewing.

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2021

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Triglav, Slovenia, August 2014

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La Palma, Spain, August 2021

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Samos, Greece, June 2018

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2014

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Ikaria, Greeece, June 2018

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Macedonia, Greece, July 2016

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Middle Atlas, Morocco, June 2005

Look at the size of this predator. The end is close.

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SE Serbia, June 2012

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Madrid, Spain, July 2011