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Glanville Fritillary - Melitaea cinxia

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

Glanville Fritillary, Melitaea cinxia, underwing view

In the 1690s the first British record of capture of this butterfly, in Lincolnshire, was made by lepidopterist Lady Eleanor Glanville, who is now honoured in the common name of this species.

Glanville Fritillary, Melitaea cinxia, Bulgaria

Distribution

Nowaday in Britain the Glanville Fritillary is restricted to a few sites near the Hampshire-Dorset border, on the isle of Wight, and in the Channel Isles. (What are considered to have been illegal introductions to a few locations in southern England have been responsible for other sightings in recent years.) On mainland Europe the Glanville Fritillary is common in many countries from southern Scandinavia down to the Mediterranean including northern Spain, France, Germany, Holland, Austria, Italy and the Balkans and eastwards into Asia.

Glanville Fritillary, Melitaea cinxia, central France

Habitat

This species is usually found most often in flower-rich grasslands including meadows, hillsides and coastal cliffs, but Glanville Fritillary is also seen in scrubland, on woodland edges, and along hedgerows and the margins of cultivated fields.

Glanville Fritillary, Melitaea cinxia, southern France

Lifecycle

The primary larval foodplant of Glanville Fritillary is Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata and other plantain species; it is also reported to use Spiked Speedwell Veronica spicata. In Britain the single brood of adults can usually be seen in flight from early May through to early July.

In northern Spain and southern France, where this is a very common species, the adults are usually on the wing from late April to June with a second brood flying in August and September. These butterflies take nectar from a wide range of wildflowers.

The specimens shown on this page were photographed in central and southern France and in northern Italy.

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