Southern Heath Fritillary

Description:

There are quite a few butterflies in Europe that are also rather large orange with very similar black markings:
High Brown Fritillary (Argynnis adippe)
Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia),
- Cardinal (Argynnis pandora),
- Niobe Fritillary (Argynnis niobe),
- Dark Green Fritillary (Speyeria aglaja),
Weaver`s Fritillary (Boloria dia)
- Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene),
Marbled Fritillary (Brenthis daphne),
- Lesser Marbled Fritillary (Brenthis ino),
Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia)
Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe),
- Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia),
Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma), and
- Glanville Fritillary (Melitaea cinxia).

The best way to distinguish them from each other is by looking at the underside of the hindwings.
Most of them have small white spots or other distinguised markings on the underside of the hindwings.

Formerly considered as a subspecies of Melitaea athalia, Melitaea celadussa was split in 2017 from Melitaea athalia and considered a separate species.
Checking the genitalia is the only way to tell the difference between this butterfly and Melitaea athalia.
There is somewhat confusion about its name, Melitaea celadussa or Melitaea nevadensis.
Melitaea celadussa/nevadensis replaces Melitaea athalia in the Iberian Peninsula, in southeastern France, western and southern Switzerland, and most of Italy.

Lac de Fontaine, Haute-Savoie, France, 1 August 2016

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