Lesser Spotted Fritillary

Lesser Spotted Fritillary / Melitaea trivia syriaca / فراشة قليلة النقرشة

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Status: Uncommon

Commonly known as the Mullein or the Lesser Spotted Fritillary, this butterfly belongs to the family Nymphalidae and is a small-sized species with a wing span of 28-38 mm. It occurs in the Mediterranean region extending from south Europe and the Middle East to central Asia. In the south Mediterranean zone, it is found in the northern to central Palestine upto the Jordan valley. This species has been recorded to fly from March to early November and the peak activity has been observed from April to June.

The upperside of both fore and hindwings is golden orange in colour and heavily marked with black marginal spots. The lower border of both sets of wings on the upperside is marked with ocular shaped black patches alternating with orange patches and the outermost margin is marked with white ocular patches. The underside of hindwings has white background colour with orange coloured marginal spots having black border or lining. These spots are more triangular in shape than rounded.

The underside of hindwings is orange in with similar ocular shaped patches, which are however black in colour and those ocular patches on the lower margin of the forewings are white with a black discal spot.

While resting with wings folded upwards, this unique colouring pattern with spots makes it easy for the butterfly species to be identified.

The butterfly species mostly prefers open landscape, semi-desert areas with dry and open vegetation, but also can be seen in the mountaineous regions upto a height of 3000-3500 m above mean sea level. It typically prefers open grasslands.

There are two generations in a year. The adults prefer flowering herb plants for feeding on nectar.

Larvae feed on Verbascum , Scrophularia, Eremostachys species.

IUCN conservation status – Vulnerable