|The Glanville fritillary spends most of its life
as a black, spiny caterpillar. The orange patterned butterfly lives only a
few weeks. The warm southern European climate attracts the Glanville fritillary
more than the cool, wet northwest does. The butterfly has almost disappeared
from Great Britain.
Habitat: The Glanville fritillary inhabits all types of grassland throughout continental Europe and large areas of Asia. In Great Britain the butterfly lives only on the coastal slopes of the Isle of Wight, an island filled with flowers and grassland. Its mild climate attracts the Glanville fritillary. A slight change in the climate has kept the Glanville fritillary from migrating further north in Great Britain. The butterfly was once found as far north as Yorkshire, but it prefers the milder, warmer regions rather than the cold.
Life cycle: The Glanville fritillary spends most of its one year life
cycle as a caterpillar. After mating, the female lays her first batch of
eggs in loose clusters under the tips of narrow leaved plantain or sea plantain
leaves. She then feeds on buttercups, yellow vetches, or trefoils by sucking
the nectar with her proboscis (tongue). The nectar helps her mature a second
batch of eggs. After she lays them, the female dies. Caterpillars soon emerge
from the eggs and feed on the plantain under a protective silken web. The
caterpillars soon outgrow their tough skins. The skin splits, leaving a new,
pliable skin that will be molted when it can be stretched no further.
They stop feeding and lie dormant until spring when they resume eating, becoming full grown after their sixth molt in early April. When the caterpillar sheds its skin for the seventh time, it emerges as a legless, non-feeding pupa (inactive form). It hangs from a plantain stem while the insect inside grows into an adult butterfly. After 15 days, the Glanville fritillary crawls out of the pupa, unfurling its wings so they will harden in the sun. After flexing its wings a few times, the butterfly flies off to feed, mate, and lay another generation of eggs.
Enemies: Glanville fritillaries can live for two to three weeks, but many survive for only a few days. Some dry up in the summer heat. Others are killed by butterfly eating spiders, such as the crab spider and the orb web spinner. The crab spider waits for butterflies in flowers, blending with the color of the petals. When the butterfly settles to drink the nectar, the spider pounces and kills it. The orb web spider suspends its web between tall flower heads, snaring the butterflies as they pass.
Related Species: There are many fritillaries
in the family Nymphalidae, as well as more familiar species such as the peacock
and red admiral.
Life cycle of the Glanville Fritillary:
Did You Know:
All material copyright ©1996-2018
Ladywildlife©..& mcmxci imp b/imp
inc. wildlife fact files tm