Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis lucina)

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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.

29601_male_Alpes-Maritimes_1Jun12 32457_male_Alpes-Maritimes_1Jun13 32486_male_Alpes-Maritimes_1Jun13
32950_male_Isère_18Jun13 37206_male_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_11May15 40631_male_Côte-d'Or_26May16
29618_female_Alpes-Maritimes_1Jun12 32961_female_Isère_18Jun13 20559_female_Côte-d'Or_2Jun10
37230_male_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_12May15 40646_male_Côte-d'Or_26May16 25673_female_Alpes-Maritimes_11Jun11

I have not found lucina to be common in France by any means, and it does not seem to occur in my local patch in Var. I have seen it in greater numbers in the nearby Alpes-Maritimes and Hautes-Alpes and in more central locations such as the Côte-d'Or. In Provence it is usually found at altitudes of around 1000m, although, as 25673 shows, it can be found at much higher altitudes.

 

It is also found in the UK, although restricted to a limited number of sites, principally in the south. It is declining rapidly in numbers in the UK and its existence is considered to be threatened.

 

It rarely nectars on flowers and the females tend to be elusive, spending most of their time egg-laying. Males are rather territorial and spend most of their time basking on low vegetation.

The male can be quite dark, while the female generally has lighter markings to a greater or lesser degree. The female tends to be noticeably larger in my experience, and particularly orange females can almost resemble a small fritillary which explains why it was (erroneously) known by the early entomologists as the Duke of Burgundy Fritillary and believed to be a fritillary. Even as recently as 2004, in TLID it is still referred to as "Fritillary". The current taxonomy has dropped the word Fritillary from the English name of this species. 

 

It is the only European representative of the Riodinidae genus (also known as "Metalmarks") in Europe, although the genus is extensive worldwide with over 1000 species, the majority residing in the American tropics. They are known as Metalmarks because of the metallic appearance of spots on the wings, although that is not the case for lucina. They are closely related to Lycaenidae (blues, coppers, hairstreaks).

ref sex

observations

alt. m
29601 M a fairly typical male, perhaps a little lightly marked. 1400
32457 M a male, quite fresh and rather dark. 1400
32486 M a male, very similar to 32457 but not actually the same butterfly. 1130
32950 M a male, an open wing shot taken in cloudy conditions as it absorbs the rays of the hazy sun. 1120
37206 M a typical male. 670
40631 M a rather dusky male. 40646 is the underside. 430
29618 F a very lightly marked female, much lighter than any other lucina I have seen. 1400
32961 F a female, based on body shape and colouring, although nowhere near as orange as 29618. 1120
20559 F

clearly a female on body shape and lighter orange markings.

320
37230 M a rare opportunity for an underside shot. 800
40646 M the underside of 40631 in typical territorial pose. 430
25673 F a female, in the Hautes-Alpes. Lafranchis gives the altitude range as 0-1700m, sometimes higher in the Hautes-Pyrénées, but 25673 was seen in the Hautes-Alpes at 1900m, some way above the stated range. 1900

 

29601_male_Alpes-Maritimes_1Jun12

 

32457_male_Alpes-Maritimes_1Jun13

 

32486_male_Alpes-Maritimes_1Jun13

 

32950_male_Isère_18Jun13

 

37206_male_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_11May15

 

40631_male_Côte-d'Or_26May16

 

29618_female_Alpes-Maritimes_1Jun12

 

32961_female_Isère_18Jun13

 

20559_female_Côte-d'Or_2Jun10

 

37230_male_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_12May15

 

40646_male_Côte-d'Or_26May16

 

25673_female_Alpes-Maritimes_11Jun11