Duke of Burgundy

Hamearis lucina


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Hamearis lucina

Male, Switzerland, May 2018

Hamearis lucina

Male, Switzerland, April 2018

Hamearis lucina

Male, Switzerland, May 2017

Hamearis lucina

Female, Switzerland, May 2018

Hamearis lucina

Female, Switzerland, May 2016

Hamearis lucina

Female, Switzerland, April 2017

Hamearis lucina

Close-up of male, showing just two pairs of functional legs

Hamearis lucina

Close-up of female, showing three pairs of functional legs

Hamearis lucina

Male, Switzerland, June 2013

Hamearis lucina

Male, Switzerland, June 2013

Hamearis lucina

Male, Switzerland, April 2014

Hamearis lucina

Female, Switzerland, June 2013



Switzerland, April 2011



Switzerland, April 2011



Male, Switzerland, May 2010



Female, Switzerland, May 2010



Switzerland, May 2010

Switzerland, May 2008

Switzerland, May 2008

Switzerland, May 2008

Switzerland, May 2005

Switzerland, May 2005

Hamearis lucina distribution

Distribution

This is a locally common species in chalk grassland and woodland over much of Europe, though it is increasingly scarce in many places and the map above gives a false impression of its detailed distribution. Some of the orange areas contain only scattered colonies and there are many sites where has become extinct in recent decades. In England and elsewhere there are projects specifically aimed at preserving its habitat and enabling it to flourish and recolonise areas from where it has been lost.

The Duke of Burgundy - sometimes referred to as the Duke of Burgundy fritillary, or more often just as the Duke - is the sole European representative of its family, the Riodinidae, or metalmarks. In some respects, this family stands between the Lycaenidae and the Nymphalidae - most obviously in that the males have just two pairs of functional legs (like the Nymphalidae) while the females have three (like the Lycaenidae). The family is largely neotropical but there are several Old World genera.

Despite the fritillary-like colouration, the species is unlikely to be confused with a true fritillary. Its behaviour and flight are far more reminiscent of a Lycaenid - in particular the way males sit on prominent perches and dart out to challenge other passing males. It is also smaller than any of our European fritillaries except for the little fritillary, which is a high alpine species and quite different in appearance. The superficially similar but much smaller chequered skipper often flies in the same habitats but it is unlikely to be confused with a Duke.

In chalk grassland the principle foodplant is cowslip and in woodland primrose or oxlip. There are one or two broods a year depending on altitude, latitude, aspect and other conditions. Colonies near me in Switzerland, at about 1000m, are single-brooded (May-June) while those in the valley sometimes have two broods, the second flying in July and August. The Duke of Burgundy hibernates as a pupa.