Melitaea cinxia (NL: Veldparelmoervlinder / EN: Glanville Fritillary / DE: Wegerich-Scheckenfalter) is a medium sized orange, black and white "checkerspot" butterfly inhabiting open meadows. The males patrol along roads and habitat edges, on the lookout for the less conspicuous females which remain in dense tussocks for long periods. Mating occurs around mid-day, and as the female often continues to fly from flower to flower, mating pairs are conspicuous. Throughout most of their range they have one generation per year, overwintering as larvae. In warm regions they have two generations per year. In her lifetime, a female lays several clusters of up to 200 eggs on the underside of the larval food plant. She feeds on nectar (with her proboscis) from surrounding flowering plants. The larvae feed on several species of plants in the genera Plantago and Veronica. They live in gregarious family groups in characteristic silken webs ("nests") throughout most of their larval stage. When alarmed, a feeding group of Glanville Fritillary larvae will jerk their heads in unison, probably to distract their enemies. Melitaea cinxia inhabits open grassland throughout Europe and temperate Asia. Severe population declines are reported in many European countries.
Image: Visé (B) - 13/05/2011
© Johan Dierckx
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