- Subfamily: Melitaeinae - Melitaeini
- Wingspan: 34-46 mm
- Flight period: May - Aug
- Spread: Common
- Host plants: Plantaginaceae - Valerianaceae...
Melitaea diamina also called False-heath Fritillaryis a butterfly of the Nymphalidae family with a wingspan of 36–42 mm.
It is widespread in central and southern Europe (from northern Spain, southern and eastern France, southern Scandinavia and Bulgaria), southern Siberia,
Northeast China, South Ussuri, Korea and Japan *, **. In Italy its presence is limited to the Alpine and pre-Alpine arc with some presence in the plains,
some colonies are present along the Apennines ****.
This medium-sized species is highly variable in terms of black markings and in the diversification of the background color on the upper part of the wings. The upper part of the wings is usually black brown, with a yellow-orange background color and white checkered fringes. On the top of the hind wings there are very heavy dark markings. Sometimes it can be uniformly dark brown. The underside of the hind wings displays a submarginal series of white crescents and some cream-white bands and orange ***.
The sexual dimorphism is given by the larger size of the female which has a reduced black veil and a lighter fawn color than, towards the edge of the wing may tend to whitish yellow ****.
These butterflies live in moist flower meadows, forest edges and walks from the plains to alpine levels up to 2200 - 2600 m. ***, ****.
Univoltine butterfly with flights from May to August depending on the latitude, in warm lowland areas a second generation can occur from July to September.
The caterpillar feeds on various species of Plantaginaceae, Polygonaceae such as Polygonum bistorta, Scrophulariaceae such as Veronica sp. - Valerianaceae and Melampyrum.
* Melitaea Fabricius, 1807 - at Markku Savela's Lepidoptera and Some Other Life Forms
** Fauna europaea - https://fauna-eu.org/
*** Melitaea diamina at Matt's European Butterflies - http://www.eurobutterflies.com/
**** Farfalle italiane - http://www.farfalleitalia.it/