New butterfly for Lesvos - Aegean Fritillary

Aegean Fritillary Melitaea telona, Kavaki, Lesvos, April 2002
© Steve Dudley

Lazaros Pamperis, author of The Butterflies of Greece, has informed me that on the basis of my photo above, Melitaea telona is confirmed for Lesvos and can be added to the Lesvos butterfly list (Russell & Pamperis in prep). This is also the first record for the eastern Aegean islands. Only one other eastern Aegean record so far, from Chios in June 2008.

Melitaea telona is a recent split from Melitaea phoebe (Knapweed Fritillary) (Russell et al 2005, Russell et al 2007). Lazaros has told me 'the main and sure distribution in Greece is the Peloponnesos (and some small Islands near the east coast), some localities in continental Greece, Chios and Lesvos; it is also found in Italy, Hungary and Israel. The situation in Turkey is not clear yet". Lazaros has also suggested that all previous records of M phoebe in the region should be re-checked in order to positively check whether they are M phoebe or M telona.

It is named in French as Melitee Egeenne (Melitaea of the Aegean Sea = Fritillary of the Aegean Sea) from which the English name is derived, Aegean Fritillary.

  • Russell, P., Tennent, W.J., Pateman, J., Varga, Z., Benyamini, D., Pe’er, G., Bálint, Z. & Gascoigne-Pees, M. (2007) Further investigations into Melitaea telona Frushstorfer, 1908 (=ogygia Frushstorfer, 1908 =emipunica Verity, 1919) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae), with observations on biology and distribution. Entomologist's Gazette, 58, 137-166.
  • Russell, P., J., P., Gascoigne-Pees, M. & Tennent, W.J. (2005) Melitaea emipunia (Verity, 1919) stat. nov: a hitherto unrecognised butterfly species from Europe (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Entomologist's Gazette, 56, 67-70.