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Today's featured picture

Marsh fritillary

The marsh fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia) is a butterfly of the family Nymphalidae. Commonly distributed in the Palearctic region, the marsh fritillary's common name is due to its habitat: marshy, damp wetlands and grasslands. The larval stage lasts seven to eight months and includes a period of hibernation over the winter. The larvae are dependent on the host plant, Succisa pratensis, not only for food but also for shelter during the hibernation stage. Females lay eggs in batches on the host plant and are, like other batch-layers, selective about location because offspring survivorship levels for batch-layers are highly dependent on location selection.

This picture shows the underside of a female marsh fritillary, photographed near the English village of Lydlinch, Dorset.

Photograph credit: Charles J. Sharp

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