Saturday, 24 July 2010

Dark Green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja)

Sue and I were coming back from a visit to the pond in the quarry above Trefor on Friday afternoon just above Nant Gwrtheyrn when we spotted a largish orange looking butterfly pass on the slopes below us. Knowing that Dark Green Fritillary was supposed to be on the wing at the moment we set off in pursuit. Sure enough as we got nearer and got the bins on the butterfly we realised it was indeed this species, out first ever sighting of this magnificent butterfly.

The butterfly was a female and appeared to be drinking from boggy areas and sunbathing rather than actively feeding of looking for egg laying sites on Violets which as far as we are aware do not occur on these slopes despite being very common in parts of the peninsula. After our views of Southern Hawker dragonflies emerging and flying around the pond for the first time and a new species to both of us it turned out to be a memorable nature watching afternoon in beautiful surroundings.

UPDATE: On closer inspection of the photos shown I noticed that the next to bottom photo shows the female actually egg laying on Marsh Violet. If you look closely you can see the tiny flower of this plant and the females abdomen curving under the plant to lay an egg. We are going back to the place to check for more violets and ova if possible on the next sunny day (assuming we get one of course this July !)

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