Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia)

Male. Taken at General Todorov, Bulgaria, on June 25th 2014.
(1/320th sec at f13. © David Hastings)

Underside. Taken in the Vercors NP, France, on July 23rd 2018.
(1/640th sec at f10. © David Hastings)


Wing span: 34 - 52mm (male); 50 - 56mm (female)

This species is easily identified by the large silver spots on the underwing. Its upper surface is bright orange with numerous rounded black spots. The sexes are similar, except that the female is usually larger.

It is common and widespread through most of Europe. It is a rare vagrant in northern Fennoscandia and the British Isles.

It is usually found in open environments such as hot, dry meadows, and fallow land, coastal dunes and rocky slopes up to 2900m.

There are up to four overlapping generations between early March and late October. It can survive the winter in all of the four life cycle stages.

The primary larval foodplants are Field Pansy (Viola arvensis) and Wild Pansy (Viola tricolor).

The adults are fond of nectaring on Thistles.

This species shows a strong tendency to migrate.


23-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France
20-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France
19-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France

06-Jun-2017 : Irinovac, Croatia
23-Jul-2015 : Papaz Tchair, Bulgaria
23-Jul-2015 : Pirin Mountains, Bulgaria
20-Jul-2015 : nr Samokov, Bulgaria