Sunday, January 17, 2010

Queen of Spain Fritillary/Storplettet perlemorsommerfugl

Issoria lathonia

A beautiful butterfly, like a piece of jewelry.

Queen of Spain Fritillary is easy to recognize with its mother of pearl spots on the backside of the wings and its shape of wings. The wing span is 35-48 mm, the male is often smaller, sometimes only 30 mm wing span. The spots on the upperside can be larger and flow together.

Its flight time is continuous from beginning of May till late September in three generations, which are not keenly segregated from one another. Its habitat is mostly flowering, unfertilized areas in light soil, but also in farm land with fallow fields and more clayey soil. It is wandering and often met outside its breeding grounds. It overwinters as a half-grown or grown larvae among withered plants. The fodder plant of the larvae is pansy, Viola tricolor and Viola arvenses and sometimes garden pansy. Other Viola-species are rarely used.

The flight is quick and unsettled and the butterfly is often floating above the vegetation. The species are often sunbathing upon the surface of the earth with outspread wings, or sitting upon leaves with V-placed wings in warm weather. It seeks eagerly, but shortly to many various flowers. The species can migrate above 100 km or more. The migrating is most distinct in 2. or 3 generation late summer, but the migrating has not been explained in every detail.

The frequency of this butterfly in Denmark is varied from year to year and from place to place. The species have during decades been few in numbers or disappeared completely in big parts of the southern Denmark, but it had a rise in these areas since 1990, maybe caused by the larger number of fallow fields in the agriculture.

Protection of the species: As mentioned above the living conditions of Queen of Spain Fritillary would be improved by a growing number of fallow fields in the agriculture.

NB 2008: Unfortunately the living conditions of Queen of Spain Fritillary have been reduced caused by the falling numbers of fallow fields in the agriculture.

photo July 2008 Hammer Bakker, Nordjylland: grethe bachmann

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