Araschnia levana (NL: Landkaartje / EN: Map / DE: Landkärtchen, Landkärtchenfalter / FR: Carte géographique) is a small butterfly of the Nymphalidae family (forewing about 17-21 mm). It is common throughout the lowlands of central and eastern Europe, and is expanding its range in western Europe. When you look at the underside of the wings it is not hard to imagine how this butterfly got it's name. The eggs are laid in long strings, one on top of the other, on the underside of stinging nettles, the larval foodplant. It is thought that these strings of eggs mimic the flowers of the nettles, thereby evading predators. The larvae feed gregariously and hibernate as pupae. The Map is unusual in that its two annual broods look very different. The summer brood 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 image). 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: Ekeren (BE) – 26/05/2012
© 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.
(To see species in the same taxonomic rank (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus), please use the tags provided with the image. The last tag is the Iso-code for the country where the image was taken. Image-date in DD/MM/YYYY format.)
Please feel free to visit my personal website http://www.diversitasnaturae.be/