lundi 29 août 2016

Sexy butterfly


The silver-washed fritillary (Argynnis (ex Dryas) paphia) is deep orange with black spots on the upper side of its wings. The male possesses scent scales (androconium) on the upper side of the forewing that run along veins one to four. The scent produced from these scales is a pheromone and attracts females and helps to distinguish it from other species.

Adults mainly feed on the nectar of bramble, thistles, and knapweeds, and also on aphid honeydew. It is pictured here on Eupatorium cannabinum. Its preferred habitat is thin, sunny, deciduous woodland, especially oaks.
Unusually for a butterfly, the female does not lay her eggs on the leaves or stem of the caterpillar's food source (in this case common dog violets), but instead one or two meters above the woodland floor in the crevices of tree bark close to clumps of violets. When the egg hatches in August, the caterpillar immediately goes into hibernation until spring. Upon awakening, it will drop to the ground, and feeds on violets close to the base of the tree. It will make its chrysalis amongst the ground vegetation, and the adults will emerge in June.

The silver-washed fritillary is found over much of the Palearctic Eco zone – Algeria, Europe, temperate Asia and Japan. It was in decline in the UK for much of the 1970s and 1980s, but seems to be coming back to many of its old territories.

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