Western Marbled White (Melanargia occitanica)

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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.

10721_male_Var_22May08 10993_female_Var_31May08 15343_male_Bouches-du-Rhône_22May09
25022_male_Var_21May11 15340_female_Bouches-du-Rhône_22May09 10716_female_Var_22May08

A very attractive butterfly that is principally found in Spain but its distribution extends eastwards across southern France but no further. The unh veins are beautifully highlighted in a rather pale chocolate colour and the unh ocelli have rather bluish centres, to a greater or lesser degree. It is single brooded and is on the wing in May to mid-June.

Until 2011, I had only found it in the western and central part of Var where is has been locally common, although I find it very nervous and difficult to approach and photograph, often settling low and in undergrowth. However, in 2015 I saw it in two location further east in Var than it had been seen before, so maybe its range is spreading.
ref sex

observations

alt. m
10721 M

a male, based on body shape and heavier markings.

340
10993 F

a female, based on body shape and the lightness of the markings, very light even by the standards of female occitanica. The light and delicate markings make this species look more a white than a Satyridae species in flight.

200
15343 M

a male, as indicated by the paleness of the brown colouring of the veins.

35
25022 M a male, typically settling low into the undergrowth late in the afternoon. 340
15340 F

a female, somewhat darker brown around the veins.

35
10716 F

a female underside, showing the delicate pale chocolate brown markings and subtle blue centres in the ocelli. It has a frustrating habit of settling only on the ground and in light undergrowth, making it very difficult to get a good photograph.

340

 

10721_male_Var_22May08

 

10993_female_Var_31May08

 

15343_male_Bouches-du-Rhône_22May09

 

25022_male_Var_21May11

 

15340_female_Bouches-du-Rhône_22May09

 

10716_female_Var_22May08