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Melitaea aetherie

Aetherie Fritillary

Field Notes

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Prov. Malaga, S Spain, May 2008

Male with large open areas of bright orange.

Prov. Malaga, S Spain, May 2008

The female is relatively darker than the male.

Prov. Malaga, S Spain, May 2008

My best underside photo!

Aetherie Fritillary
Melitaea aetherie

Distribution: Local in the mountains of N Africa and very local in S Spain and S Portugal. Also recorded extremely locally in Sicily and S Italy.

Identification: The males are bright orange on the upperside. Compared to other similar butterflies both sexes have very light markings in the discal areas of the upper hindwings, and the male also in upper forewings. This is particularly noticeable in the male which presents as a large patch of bright orange unbroken by a band of black spots or dashes. The wings are noticeably broad and rounded compared to other similar species.

Flight time: It is found from mid April and in May with a second generation in September in Italy.

Habitat: Open grasslands and flowery meadows amongst hills. Larvae feed on various Centaurea (Knapweeds).

Behaviour: Strongly attracted to flowers, particularly Knapweeds. It flies strongly but in my limited experience only for short distances: to the next flower or patch of bare earth to sun themselves on.

Prov. Malaga, S Spain, May 2008

Prov. Malaga, S Spain, May 2008

The bare earth on the other side of the fence attracted sunbathing butterflies. No way across these substantial fences for the photographer though.

Prov. Malaga, S Spain, May 2008

Prov. Malaga, S Spain, May 2008

Prov. Malaga, S Spain, May 2008

Prov. Malaga, S Spain, May 2008

Prov. Malaga, S Spain, May 2008

Prov. Malaga, S Spain, May 2008

 


 

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