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Niobe Fritillary. Argynnis niobe (Linnaeus, 1758)

Diputación de Málaga

Niobe Fritillary. Argynnis niobe (Linnaeus, 1758)

Wingspan: From 4.1 to 5.8 cm.


Closed wings: The inner zone of the forewing is orangey. It bears some black spots, while the apex is straw-coloured with orangey spots. The hindwing has a white or light green base. There is a series of white spots and a straw-coloured stripe in the middle of the wing with a series of orange eyespots. Some of them are small or absent. The spots on the hindwing margin have a black arch and orange colour above them.

Open wings: The background is orange. There is a series of arches all along the hindwing margin. These are thin and pointed, and, usuall, connected. We can also see some relatively small dots, and long spots on the central part of the wings.

Similar species

High Brown Fritillary: When its wings are closed, the green background is opposite to the plenty of white or silver spots. The eyespots are also rather big. When it stretches the wings, the orange colour is brighter, and the spots and dots broader. The arches from the group on the hindwing margin are also wider, and some of them triangular or semicircular. They are normally not connected.

Biology and Habitat

It mostly flies in June and July, although it can also be seen in August. There is only one generation a year.

It is present in well-preserved mountainous areas at an altitude that ranges from 860 to 1870 m. These butterflies prefer open areas, such as sparse woodland and scrubland, grassland or pasture. Their caterpillars feed on violets, out of which Viola odorata is the onlly one that exists Andalusia. This plan is rare in Málaga, and can only be found on specific locations, which is why the caterpillars must be feeding on other species, like V. arborescens and V. demetria, which are the most common in this province.

Distribution in the Great Path

The species is rare and limited to specific places in Málaga or on the GMP, where it has only been spotted along stage 11. It is also present in the Tejeda and Almijara Mountains, and it can probably be observed, at least some separated butterflies, on the routes in these mountains.