Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma)

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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.

18267_male_Isère_12Jul09 6554_male_Var_6Jun07 15347_male_Bouches-du-Rhône_22May09
35869_male_Alpes-Maritimes_2Jul14 36457_female_Rhône_23Jul14 13733_female_Vaucluse_23Aug08
9393_female_Var_30Aug07 18197_female_Isère_12Jul09 33074_female_Alpes-Maritimes_28Jun13
19955_male_Var_5May10 2890_male_Var_22Jul06 9394_female_Var_30Aug07
   
31932_larva_Var_30Apr13    

A very common, especially in the south, and extremely variable, fritillary. The male is usually a strong shade of orange-red but can be almost brick red. The female is paler and often suffused greyish and more heavily marked. The female is especially variable.

 

It could only be confused with the Lesser Spotted Fritillary (M. trivia) but not in France, as the trivia distribution is principally the Iberian peninsula and the Balkans.

Most, if not all, of these shots are of the subspecies meridionalis, which is the normal form in southern Europe, characterised in the male by the fiery red colour and strongly crescented black uph submarginal spots which are not attached to the marginal band, and generally cleaner feel. The female can occur in darker forms especially at altitude, 33074 being a rather extreme example.

A superb video of the life-cycle of dia has been produced by Filming VarWild and can be viewed on YouTube here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=nb2AYd6oRl0&t=372s

ref sex

observations

alt. m
18267 M

a heavily marked male, probably intermediate between the nominate form and meridionalis.

1120
6554 M

a beautifully marked male of the subspecies meridionalis, the strong black borders contrasting well with the bright red-orange of this fresh specimen.

220
15437 M

another male of the subspecies meridionalis.

35
35869 M a darker, less orange male from a higher altitude. 1200
36457 F a rather orange and lightly marked female from the Rhône. 180
13733 F

a very typical female, very similar to 9393.

750
9393 F

a female, naturally and unusually pale, not through wear. This is reflected (literally!) in the underside 9394.

780
18197 F

the dark form of the female, with only a trace of orange.

1200
33074 F a particularly dark female, perhaps the darkest I have ever seen. It did appear to be perfectly fresh, though. 1000
19955 M

a beautifully marked male underside, probably just emerged. Incredible subtlety of design.

10
2890 M

a male underside, a beautiful combination of cream and orange markings, with strong submarginal black crescents matching the upperside pattern.

60
9394 F

the underside of 9393, as delicately marked as the upperside. Fabulous light orange markings on a pale cream base.

780
31932 LARVA a larva, in its final stages. 20

 

18267_male_Isère_12Jul09

 

6554_male_Var_6Jun07

 

15347_male_Bouches-du-Rhône_22May09

 

35869_male_Alpes-Maritimes_2Jul14

 

36457_female_Rhône_23Jul14

 

13733_female_Vaucluse_23Aug08

 

9393_female_Var_30Aug07

 

18197_female_Isère_12Jul09

 

33074_female_Alpes-Maritimes_28Jun13

 

19955_male_Var_5May10

 

2890_male_Var_22Jul06

 

9394_female_Var_30Aug07

 

31932_larva_Var_30Apr13