Scarce Fritillary (Euphydryas maturna)

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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.

15903_male_Côte-d'Or_05Jun09 15942_male_Côte-d'Or_05Jun09 15933_female_Côte-d'Or_05Jun09

A very scarce fritillary (for once, the name is an accurate reflection) which in France only occurs in small colonies the north-west and its range is shrinking, mainly due to habitat destruction. It has quite a wide range in eastern Europe, though. Lafranchis gives the flight period as end-May to June (possibly early July) but when I first visited the site in Côte-d'Or on 8 June 2008 there were only two rather worn females flying, suggesting that it was almost the end of the flight period.

I revisited the site on the same date in 2009 and there were (numerous) males flying but quite worn and some of the females were a little fresher, suggesting that 8 June is indeed near the end of the flight period. Its numbers can vary from year to year and it seems that 2009 was a good year. It seemed to nectar on shrubs rather than flowers.

It is generally a low altitude species, but has a rare high altitude cousin, the Asian Fritillary (E. intermedia) which I only saw for the first time in 2016, despite considerable searching.

ref sex


alt. m
15903 M a reasonably fresh male, albeit a distance shot. 320
15942 M

even though this male is quite worn, the beautiful markings are still clearly visible. It would have been magnificent when fresh.

15933 F

a female, notably larger than the male, and less contrast in the markings, but quite a typical female in my limited experience.

15954 F

a female, distinctly more orange than 15933 and rather fresher.