Butterfly populations are a very good indicator of the health of an area's ecosystem !!
Image contributed by U.K
photographer Steve Oddy.
This butterfly is declining everywhere in the UK. The decline is primarily due to habitat loss.
(Hamearis lucina) has very precise requirements, and even suitable sites become unsuitable as cover increases.
Colonies prefer areas where food plants grow among tussock prone vegetation.
The species prefers north or west facing slopes in downland habitats.
The dorsal wings are dark brown with pale orange patches near the edges and having orange ovals with a black mark in them around the edges, with a brown and white checkered fringe.
The ventral side of the forewings is similar but less dark, with the hindwings having two bands of white cells, located one third and two thirds of the way out from the body.
(These white marks are not found on any fritillaries.)
Males and females are similar, with the female having much rounder forewings with more orange on them.
Males are much more often seen, as they select small bushes or tussocks as perches and fiercely defend them against rivals through a series of spiraling dog fights.
(As adults, both sexes exhibit distinctly different patterns of behavior.)
Males are extremely territorial, defending small sheltered, but warm, areas.
Spectacular aerial dog fights occur between males.
Females are less showy, but tend to wander, frequently travelling 250 meters or more.
New colonies have been established more than 5 km from the nearest existing colony.
Burgundies tend to been seen mostly in May, but quite a bit into June as well.
They will over winter in the chrysalis stage.