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Nickerl's Fritillary - Melitaea aurelia

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Lepidoptera - Family: Nymphalidae

Nickerl's Fritillary, Melitaea aurelia

Formerly known by the scientific name Mellicta aurelia, Nickerl's Fritillary is very similar to other members of the genus Melitaea, but is is characterised by the continuous and regular black markings on the upperwings, particulary the hindwings. Seen from beneath, there is another distinguishing feature: the narrow marginal band on the underside of the hindwing is filled in with yellow.

Nickerl's Fritillary, Melitaea aurelia, Bulgaria

Distribution

Not found in Britain and Ireland, Nickerl's Fritillary occurs in central Europe including parts of France, Germany, Austria, northern Italy but it is most common in the countries of eastern Europe, including Bulgaria.

Habitat

This species is usually found in wildflower meadows, heaths, herb-rich scrubland, moorland and peat bogs.

Lifecycle

The primary larval foodplant of Nickerl's Fritillary is Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata. The single brood of adults can be seen in flight from early June through to late July. These butterflies take nectar from various members of the daisy family Asteraceae (Compositae) as well as some other wildflowers.

Nickerl's Fritillary, Melitaea aurelia,underwing view

The specimens shown on this page were photographed in Bulgaria.

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