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Niobe Fritillary

Fabriciana niobe

  • Latin synonym: Argynnis niobe
  • Family: Brushfooted Butterflies (Four-footed Butterflies) – Nymphalidae
  • Subfamily: Heliconians (Longwings) – Heliconiinae
  • Wing span: Medium-sized, 40–54 mm (1.56–2.11 in.). Females larger than males.
  • Wing upper side: Orange with black blotches.
  • Wing underside: Forewing beige to orange, with dark blotches. Hind wing beige to reddish brown, with pale yellow or shiny silver blotches. Wing margins with row of reddish brown blotches, with light-coloured centres.
  • Habitat: Abundantly-flowered meadows and rocky slopes.
  • Flying time: Late June–early August.
  • Overwintering form: Egg.
  • Larval foodplant: Violets and pansies (Viola), e.g. heath dog violet (V. canina) and common dog violet (V. riviniana).

The niobe fritillary’s habitat has shrunk considerably since the 1980s, and the species is found mainly in southern Finland. It is highly reminiscent of the dark green fritillary and especially the high brown fritillary. It can be differentiated from the former chiefly by its row of brown patches which have a light-coloured centre. Compared to the high brown fritillary, the dark borders on the pale margin blotches on niobe fritillary’s hind wings are sharp and clear on the basal side.

Males patrol a large area looking for females, who lay their eggs close to the larvae’s foodplant (violets in Finland). The caterpillar develops inside the egg but only hatches in spring, eats the host plant for a couple of months, enters a cocoon for a couple of weeks and then begins life as a butterfly in July.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same group

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