Glanville Fritillary (Melitaea cinxia)

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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.

9965_male_Var_23Apr08 10446_male_Alpes-Maritimes_9May08 35226_male_Alpes-Maritimes_3Jun14
14939_female_Var_07May09 17458_female_Hautes-Alpes_08Jul09 24454_female_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_02May11
24337_male_Var_24Apr11 15132_pair_Var_09May09 5142_female_Var_29Apr07

Quite common in southern France, in fact it is widespread and often very common, contrasting with its range in the UK which is limited to the Isle of Wight and (allegedly) a mainland coastal location in Somerset. It is an early season butterfly, emerging in April and having all but disappeared in the far south by the end of May, although this is not true of others parts of France further north.

The uppersides are very similar to the ex-Mellicta genus although it  belongs to the original Melitaea group. It is superficially similar to many other fritillaries, but the black spots in the uph post-discal spaces make it easily distinguishable from its relatives, at least in France. The undersides are very different to ex-Mellicta species, showing why cinxia was classified as being of the Melitaea genus. This was the case until 2010 when the new European taxonomy was issued which groups the Mellicta species under the Melitaea genus.

A superb video of the life-cycle of cinxia has been produced by Filming VarWild and can be viewed on YouTube here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4WA_Yt18kk

ref sex

observations

alt. m
9965 M

a very typical male upperside in terms of markings.

230
10446 M

a rather dark male, the dark chequered borders contrasting nicely with the fresh white fringes.

1000
35226 M a dark male from higher altitude, perhaps a little darker than 10446. 1080
14939 F

a female, based on the heavier markings and the roundness of what is just visible of the body.

220
17458 F

a very dark female from high altitude. It is actually a mating pair, male just visible below.

2000
24454 PAIR a mating pair, the female on top and with wings open. 700
24337 M the underside of a freshly emerged male. 220
15132 PAIR

a mating pair, female above. The female is more heavily marked and this seems to be consistent for most or all of the specimens I have seen.

450
5142 F

a female, the pose indicating that it was roosting for the night. The black spots are quite heavy in the post-discal orange band, suggesting female.

220

 

9965_male_Var_23Apr08

 

10446_male_Alpes-Maritimes_9May08

 

35226_male_Alpes-Maritimes_3Jun14

 

14939_female_Var_07May09

 

17458_female_Hautes-Alpes_08Jul09

 

24454_female_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_02May11

 

24337_male_Var_24Apr11

 

15132_pair_Var_09May09

 

5142_female_Var_29Apr07