Muschampia tessellum (Hübner, 1803)


Muschampia tessellum: Adult (e.l. Olympus, Greece) [S] Muschampia tessellum: Lower side [S] Muschampia tessellum: Adult (Olympus, Greece, early August 2012) [N] Muschampia tessellum: Adult (Olympus, Greece, early August 2012) [N] Muschampia tessellum: Half-grown larva (Olympus, Greece, May 2008) [M] Muschampia tessellum: Larva in penultimate instar (Olympus, May 2008) [M] Muschampia tessellum: Shelter of a larva in the thirdlast instar (Olympus, Greece) [N] Muschampia tessellum: Shelter of a larva in penultimate instar (Olymp) [N] Muschampia tessellum: Larva in last instar (e.l. Olympus 2008) [S] Muschampia tessellum: Larva in last instar (e.l. Olympus 2008) [S] Muschampia tessellum: Larva in last instar [S] Muschampia tessellum: Pupa (e.l. Olympus 2008) [S] Muschampia tessellum: Pupa (e.l. Olympus 2008) [S] Muschampia tessellum: Infested Phlomis samia (Olympus, May 2008) [N] Muschampia tessellum: Habitat in Northern Greece (Olympus) in early May [N]

Host plants:
Phlomis species. In Europe, only the use of Phlomis samia is so far secured.

Habitat:
Muschampia tessellum settles on moderately dry to mesophilic, sunny and partial shrub-rich, large-scale, extensively grazed pasture landscapes in mostly medium altitudes from 500 to 1600m above sea level.

Life cycle:
Obviously, the caterpillar overwinters as L2, maybe also L3 (statement not protected). I found caterpillars in Northern Greece in about 1400-1600m above sea level in the first week of May (2007) on Phlomis samia. These still had to pass two further moults.
At that time they usually web the leaf margin upwords to a pocket-like enclosure. In the last instar, a larger shelter is webbed of a complete leaf which both sides are spun together. Prior to pupation, the last shelter is reinforced cocoon-like. The adults fly from mid-June (at low altitudes probably already late May) to early August.
A frequent companion species is Zerynthia polyxena, from which I observed many adults, eggs and young caterpillars in early May 2007 in the same habitat on Mount Olympus.

Endangerment factors:
Muschampia tessellum is severely threatened by changes of use. Both overgrazing and abandonment destroy the habitat quality. Locally, also overbuilding contributes to the decline. So a generous built road has recently (after the year 2000) destroyed parts of the habitat on the western side of Olympus.

Remarks:
The distribution extends from Southeastern Europe through Asia Minor and the Middle East to Mongolia. In Southeastern Europe, populations are known from Northern Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia and allegedly also Romania.



Muschampia proto