Knapweed Fritillary

January 18, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Knapweed and Heath Fritillary

One of the other species of butterfly I found alongside the Mincio River, was the Knapweed Fritillary. Whilst they are widespread and common in southern Europe, they are not found in the UK. I have photographed them before, in the Dordogne, but I always like to see and photograph species that I can't find at home. They can be found in flowery fields and hillsides, with its larval plants including, as the name suggests, the Knapweed flower.

They have a particular attractive patterns on the underside of their wings.

 

Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe)Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe)Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

 

Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe)Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe)Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 


Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe)Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe)Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

 

Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe)Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe)Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

 

Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe)Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe)Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

I also manged to photograph a third species of Fritillary. It is sometimes more difficult to identify butterflies than you might imagine, particularly several months after seeing them. But I think the following images are of a Heath Fritillary - distinguished by the lack of distinct spots on submarginal band (the band towards the edge) of the underside of the hind wing.

Again the undersides of these butterflies are quite beautiful. This particular one fed on this flower for over a minute.  In the first image it doesn't seem to mind that it has been joined by a friend!

 

Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia)Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia)Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

It turned on the flower head as it fed, allowing a variety of images.

 

Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia)Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia)Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

 

Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia)Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia)Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

Eventually it opened its wings to show its upper side - again very attractive.

 

Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia)Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia)Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

For more images of Knapweed Fritillaries please go to the gallery here.

For more images of Heath Fritillary please go to the gallery here.


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