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Melitaea trivia

Lesser Spotted Fritillary

Field Notes

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NW Greece, August 2008


Chalkidiki, Greece, May 2004

Subspecies trivia


Chalkidiki, Greece, May 2004

Subspecies trivia. Same butterfly as above.


Subspecies trivia (above, Chalkidiki, Greece, May 2004) showing discocellular vein, not present in Spotted Fritillary, M. didyma (below, Valais, Switzerland, July 2004)



Pyrenees, N Spain, August 2003

Subspecies ignasti from N Spain.


Pyrenees, N Spain, August 2003

Some of the hindwing marginal spots appear to be triangular


Pyrenees, N Spain, August 2003

In the orange at the centre of the square is a shadow indicating the presence
of a wing vein - the discocellular vein?


Pyrenees, N Spain, August 2003

Upperside of the butterfly above.


Here's a rather difficult customer. It is very similar to its very widespread and common cousin the Spotted Fritillary, M. didyma which flies across the whole of south and central Europe, and north Africa. The current species is confined to northern Spain, a few places in Italy and the Balkans from Slovenia, Romania to Greece.

The definitive feature is the presence of absence of a vein on the hindwing - the discocellular vein. I think I know what that is and I've attempted to indicate it in the photograph above. If anyone agrees or disagrees, please let me know - thanks. This is particularly important in N Spain where the subspecies ignasiti flies. This is bright orange with small black spots, just like didyma. In its SE range, where I've found it in Greece, it is much more heavily marked on the upperside. The rows of spots effectively form bands and some of these bands are redder, didyma much more uniform orange ground colour.

The second distinguishing feature is the shape of the black spots on the underside margin. These are allegedly triangular in trivia, rounded in didyma but this is open to interpretation in many examples. For me, this feature can only be used as a guide except for the more extreme examples where doubt about roundness and triangular-ness is removed.