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Araschnia levana

Posted by
Johan Dierckx (Wijnegem, Belgium) on 28 July 2010 in Animal & Insect and Portfolio.

Araschnia levana (The Map / Landkaartje) is a small butterfly of the Nymphalidae family (forewing about 17-21 mm). When you look at the underside of the wings it is not hard to imagine how this butterfly got it's name. The species is common throughout the lowlands of central and eastern Europe, and is expanding its range in western Europe. The Map is unusual in that its two annual broods look very different. The summer brood (this image) are blackish with white markings, looking like a miniature version of the White Admiral and lacking most of the orange of the spring brood. This seasonal dimorphism is thought to be related to the diapause (= the delay in development in response to regularly and recurring periods of adverse environmental conditions) which the hibernating pupae of the spring brood undergo.

Image: Lille (BE) - 21/07/2010

Canon EOS 400D 1/200 second F/5.6 ISO 200 150 mm

© Johan Dierckx

The photos on this site are copyrighted, which prohibits anyone to use them to sell, give away, use in email or newsgroups, use in a homepage or otherwise showing to the public without my explicit, prior, written permission. Please feel free to use the "contact"-button below to contact me with any questions.

All species are photographed in their natural habitat, without cutting or capturing them, and with maximal respect and the least possible disturbance to the environment.

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Please feel free to visit my personal website http://www.diversitasnaturae.be/

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

So then what you are saying in simpler terms is that the wing colors change due to the environmental elements imposed on the insect.. so that the following year they might evolve a little differently color-wise because of that particular seasons temperatures etc? A direct product of their environment. Maybe there's a little but to what they are eating too? As to what flowers are available during certain climes? The pose in this image is really nice, isolated on the flower, excellent dof.

28 Jul 2010 5:05am

@Dutçh: it is not a question of evolving a little every year. The spring brood is always the same color every year but completely different from the summer brood. The summer brood is slightly bigger also. So there is an impact of environmental elements but not in a vast evolutionary progress ... The precise relation is still being examined... so I really can't tell the impact of available food-plants etc.
A spring brood specimen from last year can be seen om my lepidoptera-galery from my website (You have to go to image 35/66 there - can't give a direct link to that image). You will see that the colors are really different.

Veronique from Sarrouilles, France

the colors of the butterfly and the flower goes so well together ! superbe macro :-)

28 Jul 2010 8:20am

@Veronique: Thank you, Veronique.

k@ from Paris, France

I love this one too, the wings are superb, the focus, the tones - you're good !

28 Jul 2010 1:28pm

@k@: Thank you very much again for your apreciation and compliments.

Julie Brown from Indianapolis, United States

Nice low perspective Johan. This is a good angle to show both the ventral and dorsal sides. Interesting life history.

28 Jul 2010 2:28pm

@Julie Brown: Actually the flower is about eye-hight. For once i had not to lie down to get a good angle :-) but the flower was almost too high... It's always something challenging :-)

Loner from Wörgl, Austria

Ein wunderschönes Landkärtchen ! Danke für die ausführliche Beschreibung !

28 Jul 2010 3:08pm

@Loner: You're welcome, Sonja. I think this species is very common in your region?

Gina from Azores, Portugal

Perfect macro!!Lovely colors.5*

29 Jul 2010 1:57am

@Gina: Thank you very much for the *'s, Gina.

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

The spring brood is definitely more vibrant and I love your site. Looked at ALL the photos!

29 Jul 2010 2:02am

@Dutçh: I'm glad you like the site :-) Haven't updated since january this year - so all images are from previous years ...

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

Opps forgot to add, that white butterfly with the dark lines.. Melanargia Galathea.. I have the urge to color.

29 Jul 2010 2:04am

@Dutçh: hehe - I remember your image on the pastels ... You're free to use them :-))))

♏arleen from Netherlands

Dit vind ik toch de mooiste pose om een vlinder vast te leggen.....! Heel fraai werk:-)

29 Jul 2010 10:08am

@♏arleen: Op deze manier zie je tegelijk de onder- en bovenzijde van de vleugels ... Het heeft dus wel wat :-) Dank je alweer voor je lovende woorden, Marleen.

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

:D Send me a photo, full sized, I'll print it, color it with those very pastels then scan it and send it back! :P

30 Jul 2010 3:51am

@Dutçh: Deal :-) I'll search for it in my archive (give me some time).

daniela scharnowski from Berlin, Germany

Belgium seems to be the Eldorado for insects ;D
I haven´t seen a Landkärtchen for years! Your angle is so superb Johan, eye to eye over the wasserdost/Eupatorium cannabinum, which also makes a lovely contrast! Well done!!!

31 Jul 2010 9:57am

@daniela scharnowski: Oh no, Belgium is far from an eldorado... Today on the national news: "From the 64 species of butterflies in Belgium, 1/3 is already considere to be extinct, 1/3 considered very scarse and volnurable" (There is a national counting weekend for butterflies in the garden going on - that's why this message was in the news). Think that news is far from positive...
Congrats on your determination of the E.cannabinum :D On this plant usualy lots of insects can be seen... look for it !

daniela scharnowski from Berlin, Germany

This really is sad news! Sorry to hear that - I bet in germany this isn´t much different, but your nation wide counting wekend sounds fantastic - never heard of an action close to this here, just the biodiversity day, but then everything counts.

1 Aug 2010 7:49pm

@daniela scharnowski: I think it is not much different in most of Europe. Loosing habitats is the main reason for extinction of many species... We have to enjoy (and protect !) what's left ...

Canon EOS 400D
1/200 second
ISO 200
150 mm