Bentley Wood, Hampshire, U.K.
Family : Nymphalidae
Subfamily : Heliconiinae
Species : Boloria euphrosyne
This has to be one of my most memorable shots from last year where I inadvertently captured one of natures magical moments. If you look very closely you can see that this butterfly is in the process of laying an egg and appears to be either holding it or guiding it with one of her back legs. I knew she was flying around looking for places to lay her eggs but I didn't dream that I would actually catch her in the act. I have seen butterflies laying eggs before but have never captured the actual moment on camera.
Like its slightly smaller cousin, the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, this is a very widely distributed species and is found throughout most of Europe, extending through Turkey, Iran, the Caucasus, Russia, parts of Central Asia, to China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It is a medium sized butterfly with a wingspan of 40-47mm, the female being larger than the male. It is one of the first fritillaries to appear in Spring, flying between late April and early July. Adults feed on the same plants as their smaller cousin, namely Ajuga reptans, Hyacinthoides non-scriptus, Lotus corniculatus, Ranunculus spp., Euphorbia amygdaloides, Lychnis flos-cuculi amongst others.
Found in various habitats including open areas within deciduous woodland, marshes, flowery alpine meadows, and sometimes in conifer plantations. Common at all sites are damp areas where the foodplants are able to grow vigorously. Eggs are usually laid singly on the underside of a leaf on the foodplant. The larva hibernates in its 4th instar and emerges the following Spring to continue feeding and complete its lifecycle. The primary larval foodplants are Viola sp. .
All my insect pics are single, handheld shots of live insects.