Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia)
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2019 photographs highlighted in yellow. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.
A breathtakingly beautiful butterfly and, although I might assert that I have no favourites, this is not entirely true. The underside is characteristic and unlike any other fritillary with large silver “mirrors”. The size can vary enormously between the sexes, the female as usual being much larger, and also between broods. The rather square wing shape is also unlike any other. It has a wide altitude range and is often found at very high altitudes and sometimes at temperatures that seem far too cold for any butterfly.
It is highly migratory and therefore very widespread and
frequently encountered, but rarely more than a few in any one place - the one
exception I have found was in 2010 when I encountered 25 or so in one location in the Alpes-Maritimes,
in company with about 50
Pearl-bordered Fritillaries (Boloria euphrosyne) and six other types of fritillary in smaller numbers.
In the UK, it has in recent years started to become a regular visitor and there is a possibility that it might start to breed on the south coast and become established as a resident. Despite its powerful migratory instincts, that have only been 500 recorded sightings in the UK since recording began.
a male, despite the darkness of the markings and the body shape.
a male, at the other end of the scale, quite lightly marked.
a male, almost identical to 20790.
|34589||M||a male, I suspect, although I am not 100% sure.||20|
|46037||M||a very boldly marked male.||140|
a female, I think, based on the more extensive uph basal suffusion.
a female, very strong orange and big bold black markings, plus extensive basal suffusion on both upper wings. A magnificent butterfly.
a very dark male, the deep red setting off the silver mirrors to good effect.
|38242||M||a male puddling at the river's edge. The reflectivity of the mirrors is not particularly apparent because of the viewing angle.||2020|
|24860||?||fairly standard lathonia, which kept returning to the same spot.||20|
a female, showing the unh silvery mirrors.