Mont Lozère, Parc National des Cévennes, Lozère, France
Family : Lycaenidae
Subfamily : Lycaeninae
Species : Lycaena tityrus
This species is distributed throughout most of mainland Europe but absent in Scandinavia, a large part of Spain, and also the U.K. Continues eastwards to Armenia, Georgia, Russia, and Turkey. It is a small, very active, butterfly with a wingspan of 28-32mm. It is a sexually dimorphic species and the two sexes are very easy to tell apart. The upperside of the forewings on the female contains a large amount of orange whilst this is completely absent in the male. The underside of both sexes is very similar in appearance but again there is an orange flush on the forewing of the female. At high altitudes there is a subspecies - subalpinus - which is quite dark with little or no orange markings in either the male or the female.
Found in a wide range of habitats including flowery meadows, woodland clearings, and alpine pastures up to an altitude of around 2500 metres. It flies rapidly and frequently stops to bask on low vegetation. Larval foodplants are Rumex sp. especially R.acetosa . There are two and sometimes three generations each year between May and September. Caterpillars from the late generation overwinter half-grown and start feeding again the following Spring.
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