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The Marsh Fritillary occurs in very different types of habitat, like moist, sheltered grasslands, along the edges of raised bogs and on dry, calcareous grasslands. The foodplants are Devil’s-bit Scabious (Succisa pratense), Small Scabious (Scabiosa columbaria), Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis) and teasels (Dipsacus spp.), on the Iberian peninsula Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.). The eggs are laid in large clumps under the leaves. The caterpillars spin a substantial nest between the leaves of the foodplants, feeding in it and also hibernating communally there. However, later they are solitary and look for places deep in the vegetation in which to pupate. The Marsh Fritillary has one generation a year. This is a very variable species with many subspecies. In Spain and Portugal Euphydryas aurinia beckeri is larger and brighter than most subspecies, with bold, black markings. Euphydryas aurinia debilis is usually found above 1800 m in the Alps and Pyrenees. It is smaller, with a lot of black markings and hardly any orange. Euphydryas aurinia provincialis occurs in the south of France and is pale orange. Euphydryas aurinia hibernica occurs in Ireland and is very distinctive with prominent red and heavy black markings. Habitats: humid grasslands and tall herb communities (26%), mesophile grasslands (21%), dry calcareous grasslands and steppes (9%), broad-leaved deciduous forests (7%), heath and scrub (5%), alpine and subalpine grasslands (5%).


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© Chris van Swaay

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