Mating Knapweed Fritillaries from Syria, we believe

mating butterflies
April 10, 2010
this is the first group of pics ,which i have taken as i was on a trip to the mountains of Tartous.
these beautiful butterflies were making love while i was shooting….
i hope you can “ID” them…
ps. i will be sending more letters hoping you will somehow answer them. cuz you are not answering my letters anymore. :'(
Tartous,Syria.Middle East

Mating Knapweed Fritillaries

Dear WAEL,
We wish we had a staff large enough to respond to the multitude of identification requests we receive each year, but alas, a sole Bugman can only do so much.  We are not deliberately ignoring you, but we have been working on completing our book as well as trying to hold down a full time job furthering the education of a future generation of photographers and journalists at Los Angeles City College.  We know that your mating beauties are Brush Footed Butterflies in the family Nymphalidae, and that they somewhat resemble  some North American species of Fritillaries, but an exact identification will require research.  We decided to begin with the Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa website, and we hit the jackpot, kind of, because the homepage has a photo that appears to match your individuals, but alas, there is not an identification, so we need to sort through thumbnails.  We got sneaky and downloaded the image hoping it would have a name on it, but alas, the group of images is combined and just titled “home”.  We believe these are mating Freyer’s Fritillaries, Melitaea arduinna, though it doesn’t appear that the url on the website changes when that photo is selected.  We then pursued that name and found a page on Eurobutterflies that indicated that Freyer’s Fritillary also resembles two other species with this information:  “This is a very local species found in the Balkans. It is only found in a few areas, including NW Greece. We’ve found only two colonies and then only a few individuals, one near Lake Vegoritis and one in the Varnous Mountains. Both sites were lush grassy places with plenty of flowers.  The very similar Knapweed Fritillary, M. phoebe, and Glanville Fritillary, M. cinxia were flying more commonly with it at both places. The key difference is found in the post discal area of both surfaces of the hindwing. This orange band has black spots, although in phoebe they are usually not present. These spots have a deeply arched black line forming a semi-circle around them on the underside. This is outside the row of lines/ lunules that form the outside border of the white discal area. This is missing completely in cinxia. If spots are present a check of the upperside is helpful to eliminate phoebe – arduinna has fine black markings, phoebe is relatively very dark, particularly on the hindwing. Another place to check is the row of spots in the forewing discal area near the costa of arduinna, these are merged into a streak in phoebe.
”   The Knapweed Fritillary, Melitaea phoebe, is pictured with a distribution map on Captain’s European Butterfly Guide, with the comment:  “No black spots at the wingtip on the underside (see right) and no black in the row of orange spots helps distinguish from the Glanville fritillary.”  The Glanville Fritillary, Melitaea cinxia, can also be found on Captain’s European Butterfly Guide, and the photos with the black spots evident would disqualify it as your species.  Our money is on the Knapweed Fritillary whose range appears to reach Syria.  Our inability to answer all of your numerous requests should not be taken as a slight, since the research in this one posting took us 45 minutes, meaning many other readers will not be receiving a response from us today.

Mating Knapweed Fritillaries

thank you , and i am really sorry
i did not know about all the hard working and effort you give for our demands.
and i do appreciate your work,and i am thankful from all my heart.
i will make a donation just because you are the only ones worthing it,and please please forgive me if i looked too demanding and over asking.
and because of you,many of my pals now,reconsidered the value of this kingdom they rarely care about each day.
greetings from Syria to all the hard working people of WTB.

Hi again WAEL,
There is no need to apologize, but we did want you to know that we have a very small staff and answering all our emails would prevent us from doing much of anything else.  Our very hard working webmaster has recently added a translation feature to our site, and we expect that might bring in even more mail.

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