False Heath Fritillary (Melitaea diamina)

Female. Taken in the Velebits National Park, Croatia, on June 10th 2017.
(1/500th sec at f16. Approx 2x lifesize. © David Hastings)


Wing span: 36 - 42mm

This medium-sized fritillary is highly variable in the extent of black markings and in the ground colour on the wing uppersides. The upper side of the wings usually is black/brown, with yellowish-orange ground colour and white chequered fringe. On the upperside of the hindwings there are very heavy dark markings. The sexes are similar.

It is widespread in mostly C Europe, but is very sporadic in southern, western and northern edges of the range.

It is found in damp meadows and other grasslands, pastures with shrubs, forest edges and clearings, edges of marshes and peat bogs, and alpine meadows up to 2000m.

There is mostly one generation per year from mid-May to July; in favourable years there can be a second brood in August-September.

The larvae eat many species of Valerian.


10-Jun-2017 : Velebits National Park, Croatia