Map (Araschnia levana)

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2016 photographs highlighted in green. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

16182_female_Rhône_14Jun09 - prorsa 36825_female_Rhône_11Apr15 - levana 0120_female_Rhône_30Apr06 - levana
18899_male?_Aisne_21Jul09 - prorsa 12936_male_Ain_14Jul08 - prorsa 0121_female_Rhône_30Apr06 - levana

Unusual (and probably unique among French butterflies) in that the two broods of levana are completely different. The first brood spring form is shown by 36825 and 0120. The second brood summer form, referred to as A. levana form prorsa, looks like a smaller version of a White Admiral (Limenitis camilla), as shown by 16182. The undersides are different, but not to the same extent as the uppersides, as shown by 0121 and 18899.

The butterfly gets its name from the underside, which was thought to be like a map. In fact, the French name is La Carte. It must have been quite amazing to the early entomologists to discover that the "two" species were in fact one and the same! It is widespread across France, reasonably common in the north and in the Pyrénées, but unusually it does not occur in the south-east corner of France, which also appears to be the case for camilla and the Purple Emperor (Apatura iris). I guess this area cannot complain too much, especially as there are some 190 species that occur in either Var or the Alpes-Maritimes.
ref sex

observations

alt. m
16182 F

I originally believed this to be a male, mainly based on its rather territorial pose, sitting on the edge of a plant and ready to see off any intruders. The body shape and pointed end of the abdomen suggested female and the strong red uph lines match the illustration of the female in T&L quite closely, so I have concluded it is more likely to be a female. It is clearly a second generation, prorsa.

180
36825 F a first brood levana, probably a female although the body shape is not entirely conclusive and there are only a few very minor differences in the markings between the sexes. 210
0120 F

a female, based on body shape, of the first brood levana.

235
18899 M?

clearly a second generation prorsa, and probably a male.

80
12936 M

another prorsa underside, the odd pose explained by the fact that it had been seized by a crab spider. This is clearer in the enlarged version below.

235
0121 F

the underside of 0120.

235

 

16182_female_Rhône_14Jun09 - prorsa

 

36825_female_Rhône_11Apr15 - levana

 

0120_female_Rhône_30Apr06 - levana

 

18899_male?_Aisne_21Jul09 - prorsa

 

12936_male_Ain_14Jul08 - prorsa

 

0121_female_Rhône_30Apr06 - levana