Melitaea and Euphydryas

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Melitaea and Euphydryas

 

two closely related genera of butterflies of the family Nymphalidae. The wingspread is 2–5 cm. The wings are brown above, with transverse parallel stripes of many black spots. The underwings are usually light yellow with an intricate black pattern. The caterpillars, which have spines distributed in rows along the body, feed on the leaves of herbaceous plants, trees, and shrubs. They spend the autumn and winter in groups in weblike nests. Those that have wintered live singly.

Melitaea and Euphydryas are distributed in Europe, nontropical Asia, and northern Africa. Of the approximately 150 species, about 50 occur in the USSR. Among the most common species is M. maturna, which flies from May to July and whose caterpillars live on leafy trees and shrubs (poplars, willows, lilacs, honeysuckle) and herbaceous plants (plantain, wood sorrel, violets, scabious). The butterfly is distributed in the central and steppe belts of the European USSR, in southern Siberia, and in the Far East. Also common are M. cinxia and M. athalia, which are distributed in the European USSR, in the Caucasus, in Siberia, and in the Far East. Their caterpillars feed on herbaceous plants (plantain, hawkweed, cowwheat).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.