Love is a carousel: courting Marsh fritillaries!

Marsh fritillaries, Euphydryas aurinia (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae), are one of my favourite butterflies. The beautiful tapestry of yellow, orange and black colours on their wings creates a stunningly attractive pattern, especially when contrasted against the bright pink colour of a flower. The beautiful appearance of butterflies is, I think, even more attractive when we discover something…

Marsh Fritillaries, moos and meadows in Galicia, Spain

The Marsh Fritillary butterfly, Euphydryas aurinia, is distributed right across the Palaearctic region – from Ireland to Russia. It is a species complex, divided into mostly distinct taxa or subspecies, with slightly different appearances, but strongly different ecological requirements (Casacci et al., 2015; Korb et al., 2016). These local, or regional populations have often specialised on, or adapted to,…

Feeding on hemlock!

There were huge numbers of Marsh Fritillary (Eurodryas aurina) butterflies flying about in Galicia (north-west Spain) when I visited the province in late April. Many of them were feeding on a white umbelliferous plant which I did not recognise at first. Only later, did I realise that what the butterflies and other insects were so attracted…