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Butterfly populations are a very good indicator of the health of an area's ecosystem !!
Images contributed by UK 
photographer Mike Young.
Also know in some areas as the Greasy Fritillary or the Woodman's Follower.
   Mellicta athalia is one of the rarest, now mostly restricted to the western parts of the UK.
   They typically fly from May to July, and  the marsh are often found in wet and boggy places, like damp meadows, but can also be seen in a variety of other habitats where there's plenty of sun and scabious for the caterpillars to feed on.
   Adult butterflies usually begin to emerge in May and can be seen flying into summer. Males will set up small territories, perching on flowers or grass stems and rushing up to meet any passing butterflies in the hope of finding a female.
   Once a female has mated, she will search for a suitable foodplant and lay a large cluster of eggs on the underside of a leaf. (the clusters can contain over 300 eggs!) 
   They are a brightly colored butterfly, with a mosaic of orange, yellow, and brown markings on the upper surface of both the forewings and hindwings, which form distinct rows of the same color. There is a prominent row of small black spots towards the outer edge of each hindwing.
   They have also been known as the Greasy Fritillary, due to the sheen that develops on their wings as the wings age and wear. 
   The marsh fritillary is one of the most threatened butterflies, having suffered severe declines in recent decades both in the UK and more widely in Europe. Local populations fluctuate greatly from year to year, depending on weather, food availability and the abundance of a parasitic wasp that uses the caterpillars as hosts for its own offspring.
Heath Fritillary
Diet: caterpillars prefer Devil's-bit Scabious  as the foodplant of choice, but they will occasionally eat Field Scabious or Small Scabious.
Avg. Wingspan: 3 - 5 cm / 1.18 - 1.97 "
Heath Fritillary caterpillar
Heath Fritillary caterpillar
Family: Nymphalidae
Heath Fritillary chrysalis
Heath Fritillary chrysalis
The single biggest threat to butterfly survival is habitat destruction!!
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