Niobe fritillary

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Niobe fritillary
Argynnis niobe - Niyobe 04.jpg
Nymphalidae - Argynnis niobe-001.JPG
Female, underside
Scientific classification
A. niobe
Binomial name
Argynnis niobe
  • Papilio niobe Linnaeus, 1758
  • Argynnis eris Meigen, 1829
  • Fabriciana niobe[1]

The Niobe fritillary (Argynnis niobe) is a butterfly of the family Nymphalidae.


The Latin species name niobe refers to Niobe, daughter of Tantalus in Greek mythology.[2]


Subspecies include:[3]

  • A. n. niobe (central Europe and Western Siberia)
  • A. n. changaica Reuss, 1922
  • A. n. demavendis Gross et Ebert, 1975 (Iran)
  • A. n. gigantea Staudinger, 1871 (southern Europe)
  • A. n. intermedia Reuss, 1925
  • A. n. khusestana Gross & Ebert, 1975 (western Iran)
  • A. n. kurana Wyatt et Omoto, 1966
  • A. n. orientalis (Alphéraky, 1881)
  • A. n. ornata Staudinger, 1901
  • A. n. shiva Wyatt et Omoto, 1966
  • A. n. tekkensis Christoph, 1893
  • A. n. valesinoides Reuss, 1926 (Korea)
  • A. n. voraxides Reuss, 1921

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Argynnis niobe is common throughout Europe, but absent from the United Kingdom and Northern Europe, and is also found in Siberia, Russia, Iran, China, and Korea [3] These butterflies can be found in open grassy places, slopes, woodland and clearings at altitudes between sea level and 2,400 metres (7,900 ft).[4][5][6]


Niobe fritillary

Argynnis niobe has a wingspan of 46–60 millimetres (1.8–2.4 in).[4] The females are rather bigger and have more marked wings.[2] These medium-sized butterflies have a bright brown-orange background with black dots and crossbands, and a line of submarginal triangular patches.[7] The forewings margin shows a rounded shape. The underside of the hindwings usually has small whitish-silvery spots, a black pupilled yellow spot and black lined submarginal lunules and veins in the basal area.[6] Caterpillars have a dark basic colour with small, white spots and white thorns.

This species is rather similar to the dark-green fritillary (Argynnis aglaja) and high brown fritillary (Argynnis adippe),[8] but it is quite smaller, the silver centred brown spots are smaller and the postdiscal silver markings are not continuous.[6]


This species is univoltine.[6] It overwinters at the caterpillar stage in the egg shell. Adults fly from May to late August.[4] The eggs are laid on the vegetation, near the host plants. The larvae hatch in March and mature in June. Caterpillars feed on Viola tricolor, Viola canina, Viola riviniana, Viola odorata, Viola hirta, Viola palustris and Plantago lanceolata.[2][3]


External links[edit]