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Athalia. (58)
peter_stoeckl Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)
Melitaea athalia (Rottemburg, 1775)

Heath Fritillary, Wachtelweizen-Scheckenfalter, Brun Pletvinge, Skogsnätfjäril, Bosparelmoervlinder, Ratamoverkkoperhonen, Közönséges tarkalepke, Atalia, Аталия …

Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Melitaeinae

Wing span: 36 – 42 mm

Once a common and wide spread butterfly in most parts of Europe, just missing in the southern Iberian peninsula, the mediterranean islands, and southern Greece, absent also from most parts of Great Britain and from Ireland. Flying in one generation from June to August from the lowlands up into the mountains to approximately 2000m in both dry and humid habitats as long as there are enough flowers in blossom within good reach. Caterpillars are feeding on a broad spectre of plants such as Plantago, Veronica, Melampyrum, Digitalis, Linaria.

During the last decades, the species has been getting rarer and rarer, getting confined to uncultivated and extensively cultivated areas only, and therefore remaining a much more frequent sight in those steep and barren Alpine mountain areas out of reach from modern agroindustrial activities than in the surrounding fertilized green lowlands.

The species is very hard to tell from very similar species M. britomartis, M. aurelia, M. parthenoides, so there will always remain some mystery when meeting a specimen of that group – even after taking a reasonably well detailed picture.

The upper side.

The picture was taken in the most convenient time of late afternoon when the air is getting cooler, and all day active butterflies would look for a good sleeping place to spend the night.

Literature:

Christopher Jonko: Butterflies and Moths of Europe. http://www.lepidoptera.pl/
Christian Stettmer, Markus Bräu, Patrick Gros, Otmar Wanninger: Die Tagfalter Bayerns und Österreichs. Laufen/Salzach 2007
Tom Tolman, Richard Lewington: Collins Butterfly Guide. London 2008
Tom Tolman, Richard Lewington: Die Tagfalter Europas und Nordwestafrikas. Stuttgart 1998

The camera:

SONY DSC-HX1, 3456 x 2592 pixels, sRGB, 14mm macro zoom (equivalent 70 mm at full size SLR), F/4, 1/500sec., ISO-125, hand held, fill flash. 06.07.2010, 18:33.

Postwork:

Adobe Photoshop CS4, slightly cropped at the left and the right , resized to web, selectively resharpened, levels slighty adjusted.

Thank you for looking.
Have a very good day.

Altered Image #1

peter_stoeckl Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)
The upper side.
Edited by:peter_stoeckl Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)

Melitaea athalia, the upper side - next generation seen exactly one year later at the same location in the early afternoon, the butterfly sitting and sucking on Arnica montana.

The camera: FUJIFILM FinePix HS20 EXR, 4608 x 3456 pixels, sRGB, 32mm macro zoom (equivalent 160 mm at full size SLR), F/5, 1/680sec., bias -0.7, ISO-200, hand held, no flash. 06.07.2011, 14:50. Postwork: Adobe Photoshop CS4, cropped at the left and the right, resized to web, selectively resharpened, levels slighty adjusted.

Hope you enjoy.