Mont Lozère, Parc National des Cévennes, Lozère, France
Family : Nymphalidae
Subfamily : Heliconiinae
Species : Argynnis paphia
This is another very widespread species that is found throughout most of Europe, the Caucasus, Russia, Turkey, Iran, parts of Central Asia, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and India. It is a powerful flier and one of the larger fritillaries with a wingspan of 70-80mm. The species is sexually dimorphic with the upper wings of the male having dark streaks which contain androconial scales that release the pheromones which attract females during courtship. The undersides are very similar in both sexes.
They are a shade loving species and favour woodland habitats, although they are sometimes seen on scrubland and hedgerows. They like areas where brambles, thistles, knapweed, and other nectar sources are in abundance. Both sexes also imbibe aphid honeydew, particularly from the surface of oak leaves high in the canopy where they roost overnight. Males also puddle for minerals at damp patches on the forest floor and sometimes at the side of streams. Eggs are laid in the bark of oaks and occasionally in other trees at around two metres above ground level. Moss-covered mature trees are favoured. When the larvae hatch in late summer they immediately go into a state of diapause until the following spring when they descend to the forest floor in search of Viola riviniana (Common Dog-violet), the primary foodplant. The adult butterflies emerge around
June and July.
All my insect pics are single, handheld shots of live insects in wild situations.