Euphydryas intermedia (Ménétries, 1859)


Euphydryas intermedia: Upper side (e.l. Grisons 2008) [S] Euphydryas intermedia: Upper side (e.l. Grisons 2008) [S] Euphydryas intermedia: Lower side [S] Euphydryas intermedia: Young nest of larvae on almost 2000m above sea level in late September (Grisons) [N] Euphydryas intermedia: Webbing in late September (Engadin) [N] Euphydryas intermedia: Webbing at Lonicera coerulea (lateSeptember, right from the center) [N] Euphydryas intermedia: Young larvae (Silvretta, Austrian Alps, September 2010) [M] Euphydryas intermedia: Young larvae (Silvretta, Austrian Alps, September 2010) [M] Euphydryas intermedia: Young larva (Silvretta, Austrian Alps, September 2010) [S] Euphydryas intermedia: Larvae prior to the first hibernation (Engadine, Switzerland) [M] Euphydryas intermedia: Half-grown larva (Silvretta, Austrian Alps 2010) [S] Euphydryas intermedia: Half-grown larva (after 1. hibernation) [S] Euphydryas intermedia: Larva after the 2. hibernation (May, Engadin, almost 2000m above sea level) [N] Euphydryas intermedia: Resting place of the larva in the preceding photo (visible in the lower half) [N] Euphydryas intermedia: Larva in last instar (Engadine, May 2008) [N] Euphydryas intermedia: Larva in last instar (Engadine, May 2008) [M] Euphydryas intermedia: Larva in last instar (Engadine, May 2008) [N] Euphydryas intermedia: Parasitized larva (Engadin, May 2008) [N] Euphydryas intermedia: Pupa (e.l. Engadine 2008) [S] Euphydryas intermedia: Pupa (e.l. Engadine 2008) [S] Euphydryas intermedia: Pupa dorsal (e.l. Engadine 2008) [S] Euphydryas intermedia: Habitat in the Engadine on almost 2000m asl (May 2008). In the center the sprouting, heavily infested shrubs are visible. [N] Euphydryas intermedia: Infested shrubs in more detail (May 2008) [N] Euphydryas intermedia: Habitat in the Pinus cembra zone (September 2008) [N] Euphydryas intermedia: Habitat in the Silvretta, Austrian Alps: nest of larvae in September 2010 in the dwarf shrub belt. [N]

Host plants:
The caterpillars live on Lonicera coerulea.

Habitat:
Euphydryas intermedia inhabits open mountain forests with many clearings, shrub communities (Alnus viridis, Rhododendron) or avalanche paths where Lonicera coerulea occurs. It prefers altitudes from 1400 to 2100m above sea level, but descends occasionally even to 1000m or is encountered at 2500m above sea level.

Life cycle:
The butterflies occur in June and July and like to feed nectar on flowers (Adenostyles etc.). The eggs are laid in batches on the lower leaf surface of exposed branches of the host plant. Here the caterpillars live in a sociable webbing. I found several caterpillar nests at 1900m above sea level (Engadine) on 27/09/2008. The caterpillars were in the third instar or in moult rest into this instar in the webbings, without fresh feeding scars. The bushes just lost their leaves and the vegetation was already drawn by frost. Presumably the first overwintering is spent in these exposed webbings. The further development is fractionated, with most caterpillars passing another winter, some even a third.
After the first winter, the larvae live singly and keep mostly on the ground in moss or dead leaves at the base of shrubs. They climb shoots near the ground and feed on the fresh leaves. In late 2008, I met many larvae at the aforementioned locality. The caterpillars were still quite small (L3) after the first overwintering, but those after the second hibernation already mature, not infrequently also parasitized.

Endangerment factors:
Euphydryas intermedia is endangered because of its often very small-scale habitats due to changes of all kinds (tourist infrastructure, forestry, grazing). Better conditions are often given in the higher elevations, so that probably at least a part of the sites appears protected in the medium-term.

Remarks:
The European presence is limited to the Alpine region (missing in the Bavarian Alps), where the subspecies wolfensbergeri flies. Otherwise there are other subspecies in Asian mountains (from the Urals to China). The taxon wolfensbergeri is partially separated as a separate species by some authors.



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