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Switzerland, June 2005
Caterpillar, May 2014
This is a common butterfly in
central and southern Europe, but a strangely difficult creature to
photograph. It seems constantly to be on the move, twisting around a
flower head as it nectars or walking impatiently over leaves. Its
habitat is woodland where brambles grow and it is rarely to be seen
very far from brambles. In April and May the distinctive, caterpillars,
with a double white stripe along the back and a single, broad white
stripe on each side, may be found on leaves of the hostplant. Adults
fly in a single brood from late May through to August. The species
spends the winter as an egg or small caterpillar.
In appearance, it is a
orange fritillary, with a bright, open feel and broad, rounded wings.
The marginal borders on the upperside are spotted, with shadows
between, rather than continuously dark like those of the lesser marbled
fritillary. The underside hindwing has yellowish spots towards the base
and marbled violet hues in the postdiscal region. The spot at the base
of s.4 - that is, just beyond the end of the cell - is yellow, suffused
with reddish brown as if leaking in from the outer half of the wing. In
lesser marbled fritillary this spot is completely yellow.