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Argynnis pandora

Cardinal

Field Notes

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Var, France, August 2010

 

Middle Atlas, Morocco, June 2005

 

Middle Atlas, Morocco, June 2005

 

Middle Atlas, Morocco, June 2005

 

Middle Atlas, Morocco, June 2005

 

Middle Atlas, Morocco, June 2005

 

Middle Atlas, Morocco, June 2005

 

Middle Atlas, Morocco, June 2005

Then end is close.

 

Middle Atlas, Morocco, June 2005

Look at the size of this predator.

 

Crete, June 2004

Female with a lot of white on underside.

 

Middle Atlas, Morocco, June 2005

Male and female

 

Middle Atlas, Morocco, June 2005

 

Crete, June 2004

 

Crete, June 2004

Male showing reduced underside white compared to female.

 

Crete, June 2004

Male with scent brands showing

 

Middle Atlas, Morocco, September 2001

Heavy green shading on upperside very common in Morocco.
Favourite nectar source - stemless thistle

 

Middle Atlas, Morocco, September 2001

 

Middle Atlas, Morocco, September 2001

Typical territorial guarding point.

 

Montes Universales, Spain, August 2003

Thistle is favourite in Spain too.

 

Montes Universales, Spain, August 2003

 


I've found this species sparingly across its range in southern Europe (Spain, France, Italy, Greece and central eastern Europe) and extremely commonly in north Africa. It flies in forest meadows where it is strongly attracted to thistles - from tall purple varieties to stemless yellow ones depending on availability. The males can be territorial and will form territories based 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.

In Europe it is difficult to distinguish in flight from related species the Silver Washed, Niobe, High Brown and Dark Green Fritillaries (Argynnis paphia, niobe, adippe and aglaja) although it is rather duller and greenish. Close inspection will reveal a green shading (of varying extent) on the upperside although in some populations this appears to be much reduced, such as in Crete. The rich water-melon pink underside forewing patch is the key diagnostic feature. Some of the females in north Africa are enormous.

 

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