Argynnis niobe (NL: Duinparelmoervlinder / EN: Niobe Fritillary / DE: Mittlerer Perlmuttfalter, Stiefmütterchen-Perlmutterfalter / FR: Le Chiffre, Nacré mat) is a butterfly of the Nymphalidae family and is one of three rather similar species. They are all rather widespread across Europe from southern Spain to central Scandinavia. The other species are: Argynnis adippe (High Brown Fritillary) and Argynnis aglaja (Dark Green Fritillary). To separate A.niobe from A.adippe and A.aglaja refer to the underside hindwing. This is heavily green in A.aglaja and usually a rather warm brown in the other two species. The submarginal band is devoid of spots in A.aglaja where A.niobe and A.adippe have several brown spots often centred with a small white or silvery pupil. The separation of A.niobe from A.adippe is a more difficult proposition. A.niobe has a small pale spot near the base of the underside hindwing. This spot has the same colour as the ground colour and itself usually contains a small black spot or mark.
A.niobe flies in open flowery places usually with woodland in the vicinity which presumably provides some habitat for the larval foodplant:Viola sp.
Image: Maloja (CH) - 18/07/2011
© Johan Dierckx
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