Cynthia's Fritillary (Euphydryas cynthia)

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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.

27203_male_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul11 38027_male_Alpes-Maritimes_30Jun15 27250_male_Hautes-Alpes_15Jul11
30692_male_Hautes-Alpes_6Jul12 30732_male_Hautes-Alpes_6Jul12 27257_female_Hautes-Alpes_15Jul11
27279_female_Hautes-Alpes_15Jul11 38010_male_Alpes-Maritimes_30Jun15 30622_female_Hautes-Alpes_6Jul12
A fabulous and rather iconic butterfly of high altitudes. It is unusual in that the male has numerous and rather variable white and red markings whereas the female tends to follow the rather duller pattern of Euphydryas females.

It is quite an early emerger for such a high altitude species, as the rather worn males (from mid-July) show.

I first saw cynthia in 2010 at 2100m, a single male that did not wait for a photograph. In 2011 I chanced upon quite a large colony at over 2500m and it seems, from all accounts, that this species is generally found above 2300m. In 2012 at the same location it was reasonably plentiful on warm sunny days but nowhere to be seen on cooler days.

At this location the males were only seen at altitudes of 2500m and above, together with some females, although at 2000m only females were found.

ref

sex

observations

alt. m

27203

M a rather worn male, with faded red patches in the upf cell and in the uph discal region.

2550

38027 M a much fresher, and therefore darker, male. 38010 is the underside. 2360

27238

M

a male, the uph post-discal band being particularly orange.

2550

27250

M

a male, posing nicely but with no apparent trace of red in the upf cell or uph post-discal region. Whether such patches ever existed and have been lost through wear, is impossible to say.

2550

30692 M a male, basking on a dried cow pat. 2550
30732 M a male, adopting a rather moth-like pose (c.f. the same pose often exhibited by cynthia's Euphydryas cousin, the Marsh Fritillary (E. aurinia.) 2550

27257

F a rather worn female.

2550

27279

F

a fresh female, with a slight deformity in the left forewing.

2550

38010 M a male underside, not a clean shot, but the best male underside I have to date. 38027 is the upperside. 2360
30622 F a female underside, seen at the lower altitude of 2020m. 2020

 

27203_male_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul11

 

38027_male_Alpes-Maritimes_30Jun15

 

27250_male_Hautes-Alpes_15Jul11

 

30692_male_Hautes-Alpes_6Jul12

 

30732_male_Hautes-Alpes_6Jul12

 

27257_female_Hautes-Alpes_15Jul11

 

27279_female_Hautes-Alpes_15Jul11

 

38010_male_Alpes-Maritimes_30Jun15

 

30622_female_Hautes-Alpes_6Jul12