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Butterfly populations are a very good indicator of the health of an area's ecosystem !!
Images contributed by
U.K photographer Ian W.
Marsh Fritillaries prefer to live in chalky grasslands, in woodland clearings, in damp marshy areas, and in heathy grassland, dominated by tussock forming grasses, including purple moor and rush pastures.
The marsh fritillary is in decline in Europe and is one of eleven butterflies covered by the United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan.
Adults usually show a checkered pattern of brown, orange, and yellow markings. Silver markings are present on the hindwing edge. The ventral wing sides are patterned with yellow, orange, and brown with no silver coloration at all.
Females lay a large number of eggs at one site. Because 200–300 eggs are laid every time an egg-laying site is chosen, females tend to undergo a discrimination phase in searching for a location to lay eggs. Each plant can serve as an egg-laying site for four to five clusters of eggs, meaning that more than a thousand larvae may hatch on a single plant. If so, the newly hatched larvae will face serious food shortage and fierce competition for food, which has serious repercussions for offspring trying to survive. Because of this, Euphydryas and other batch-laying females, such as Melitaeini females, spend more time choosing a place to lay eggs than non - batch laying species and are far more selective when looking for host plants.
Adults emerge and start flying between May and June. However, in southern regions, they can be on wing starting from late May.
Adults have short life spans, lasting about two weeks.
Mating occurs randomly. Adult males display sedentary behavior, perching on bushes or grass. They observe and seek out females. Females mate once in their short lifetime and lay multiple batches of eggs. Due to their short lifetime, females mate soon after they emerge from the chrysalis. They bear so many eggs that they are unable to fly long distances until they lay the eggs. Because of this, they crawl to nearby vegetation.
Females are larger and less vibrant in color than males.
Euphydryas aurinia as a species are relatively small butterflies with very diverse markings and coloration.
Cuckoos, frogs, toads, and the ground beetle Pterostichus versicolor are known predators of the Marsh Fritillary. All of these predators prey on the larvae. The caterpillars are also liable to be attacked by the parasitoid wasp Apanteles bignellii, particularily in warm spring weather.
As of 2021 their conservation status is globally considered of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Several areas do report regional decreases in population, however.
Diet: caterpillars dine on the food plant Succisa pratensis (Devil's Bit) of the Honeysuckle family.
Diet: Adults take nectar through numerous plant species.
Wingspan: adults 40–50 mm/ 4 - 5 cm. / 1.6–2.0 "
The single biggest threat to butterfly survival is habitat destruction!!
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