Nickerl's Fritillary - Melitaea aurelia

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Lepidoptera - Family: Nymphalidae

Nickerl's Fritillary, Melitaea aurelia

Formerly known by the scientific name Mellicta aurelia, Nickerl's Fritillary is very similar to other members of the genus Melitaea, but is is characterised by the continuous and regular black markings on the upperwings, particulary the hindwings. Seen from beneath, there is another distinguishing feature: the narrow marginal band on the underside of the hindwing is filled in with yellow.

Nickerl's Fritillary, Melitaea aurelia, Bulgaria


Not found in Britain and Ireland, Nickerl's Fritillary occurs in central Europe including parts of France, Germany, Austria, northern Italy but it is most common in the countries of eastern Europe, including Bulgaria.


This species is usually found in wildflower meadows, heaths, herb-rich scrubland, moorland and peat bogs.


The primary larval foodplant of Nickerl's Fritillary is Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata. The single brood of adults can be seen in flight from early June through to late July. These butterflies take nectar from various members of the daisy family Asteraceae (Compositae) as well as some other wildflowers.

Nickerl's Fritillary, Melitaea aurelia,underwing view

The specimens shown on this page were photographed in Bulgaria.

Studying butterflies and moths...

Matching the Hatch

If you found this information helpful, you would probably find the new 2017 edition of our bestselling book Matching the Hatch by Pat O'Reilly very useful. Order your copy here...

Other nature books from First Nature...

© 1995 - 2020 First Nature

Terms of use - Privacy policy - Disable cookies - External links policy