Melitaea varia Meyer-Dür, 1851


Melitaea varia: Male [S] Melitaea varia: Male [S] Melitaea varia: Adult (e.l. Valais, Switzerland) [S] Melitaea varia: Adult (e.l. Valais, Switzerland) [S] Melitaea varia: Adult (e.l. Valais, Switzerland) [S] Melitaea varia: Half-grown larva [M] Melitaea varia: Larva [M] Melitaea varia: Larva (Valais, Switzerland) [M] Melitaea varia: Larva [N] Melitaea varia: Larva [N] Melitaea varia: Pupa lateral [S] Melitaea varia: Pupa dorsal [S] Melitaea varia: Pupa [S] Melitaea varia: Pupa [S] Melitaea varia: Pupa [S] Melitaea varia: Habitat (Valais, Switzerland), where also P. apollo, A. niobe, P. carlinae, E. simplonica u.v.a. fly [N] Melitaea varia: Habitat on the Valaisian Täschalpe on ca. 2200m above sea level in early June 2010. Visible is the deep green zone of fertile meadow in the valley which has replaced the originally dry grasslands because of the watering infrastructure that had been installed a few years ago. [N]

Host plants:
The larvae feed on Plantago species and more rarely also Scrophulariaceae. I found repeatedly caterpillars at Plantago media on the Swiss Täschalpe (Valais).

Habitat:
Melitaea varia colonizes high alpine meadows and pastures of the Alps, for example, in the Valais and Engadine.

Life cycle:
I found hibernated caterpillars at 2400m above sea level in the southern Valais in May and June. The adults fly in July and August (in lower elevations probably already in late June). The caterpillars overwinter probably at least for the larger part twice.

Endangerment factors:
Melitaea varia is endangered in the Alps locally through tourism and the increasingly intensive agriculture (partly even with manure application, always new roads, too high cattle density, watering etc.).

Remarks:
The total distribution is restricted to the Alps (mainly central and southwestern parts) and the Apennines.



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