Lepidoptera The Duke Of Burgundy Butterfly – Nemeobius Lucina

The family Erycinida has only one British representative, commonly known as the Duke of Burgundy Fritillary, but although this butterfly certainly resembles the Fritillaries in general appearance (see figs. 9 and 10 of Butterflies ImagePlate VII), its habits and life history present many points of difference from these.

The upper side is chequered with black and tawny brown, the fringe is white and barred with dark brown, and a row of tawny spots with black centres border the hind margins. The under side has two rows of white spots, one near the base, and the other across the centre of each wing.

The male has only four legs adapted for walking, but the female has six.

The butterfly is out in May and June, and frequents the paths and open spaces of woods, chiefly in the south of England, but it has been taken in some of the northern counties.

The caterpillar (Butterflies PicturePlate VIII, fig. 6) is not spiny like those of the true Fritillaries, but more closely resembles those of the Blues, being somewhat of the form of a woodlouse. It is reddish brown, with tufts of hair, black spiracles, and a dark line down the back. It feeds on the primrose (Primula acaulis) and the cowslip (P. veris), and may be found during June, July and August.

When fully grown, the caterpillar secures itself to a leaf or stem by means of its anal claspers and a silken cord round its body, and changes to a short, thick, hairy and light-coloured chrysalis (Plate VIII, fig. 11), which is marked with several black spots. In this state it spends the winter, and emerges early in the following summer.