Melitaea nevadensis

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Melitaea nevadensis
Nymphalidae - Melitaea nevadensis-001.JPG
Nymphalidae - Melitaea nevadensis-002.JPG
Scientific classification
M. nevadensis
Binomial name
Melitaea nevadensis
Oberthür, 1904
  • Melitaea dejone nevadensis Oberthür, 1904
  • Melitaea athalia celadussa Fruhstorfer, 1910
  • Melitaea athalia nevadensis Oberthür, 1904

Melitaea nevadensis is a species of butterfly of the family Nymphalidae.


The name nevadensis originally referred to a subspecies of Melitaea deione, and later of Melitaea athalia, found in the Spanish Sierra Nevada. At the beginning of the 21st century, molecular studies (mitochondrial DNA) have determined that the Melitaea athalia populations from southwestern Europe (mostly comprising subspecies M. a. celadussa, but also M. a. nevadensis) likely constitute a separate species from the nominal M. athalia that is widespread throughout the Palaearctic region. These butterflies are distinct genetically and morphologically in the structure of the genitalia.[1][2][3] This newly identified species has been referred to as Melitaea nevadensis, Melitaea celadussa or Melitaea helvetica.


Melitaea nevadensis replaces Melitaea athalia in the Iberian Peninsula, in southeastern France, western and southern Switzerland, and most of Italy. In France and Italy, the ranges of these two species are separated by a broad transition zone where the specimens have intermediate morphological features.


It has a wingspan of about 40 millimetres (1.6 in). These butterflies are golden yellow or orange, with fine black markings.


Caterpillars feed on Plantago, Antirrhinum, Veronica, Linaria, Melampyrum, Digitalis and Pedicularis species.[4]


  1. ^ Oorschot Van H., Coutsis J. - The genus Melitaea Fabricius, 1807 (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae, Nymphalinae) Taxonomy and systematics with special reference to the male genitalia. - Pardubice 2014
  2. ^ Leneveu J., Chichvarkhin A. & Wahlberg N. (2009), Varying rates of diversification in the genus Melitaea (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) during the past 20 million years Biological Journal of the Linnean Society n.2 pp. 346-361
  3. ^ Emilio Balletto, Luigi A. Cassulo , Simona Bonelli : An annotated Checklist of the Italian Butterflies and Skippers (Papilionoidea, Hesperiioidea) -p.101-
  4. ^ Paolo Mazzei, Daniel Morel, Raniero Panfili Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa

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