False Heath Fritillary - Melitaea diamina

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

False Heath Fritillary, Melitaea diamina

Not found in Britain, the False Heath Fritillary is has a wingspan of 36 to 42mm, the females being somewhat larger than the males. Seen from above, the brown wing roots usually extend well out into the wings and are much the same dark brown colour as the insect's body. Some specimens are almost black when viewed dorsally.


Recorded from southern Europe and much of Asia including parts of Russia and China, the False Heath Fritillary is absent from Britain and Ireland.


This species is usually seen on the wing along woodland edges and rides as well as in damp wildflower meadows and herb-rich scrubland.


The primary larval foodplants of the False Heath Fritillary butterfly are various kinds of Valerian, and in particular Common Valerian Valeriana officinalis.The single brood of adults can be seen in flight from mid May through to late August, depending on altitude. These butterflies take nectar from many kinds of wildflowers.

The specimen shown on this page was photographed on mainland Europe.


This page includes pictures kindly contributed Betty and Tony Rackham.

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