Last modified: Dec. 28, 2021, 4:44 p.m.
A fairly common species throughout Belgium. Numbers can vary between years but the species is never rare.
This large species is easily identified by the unique black pattern on a pale yellowish ground colour. Apart from the blackish accentuated veins, the wings have a dark base and a dark subterminal band, on the hindwing, this subterminal band has a series of blue spots with a red eyespot in the tornus. Wing length: 32–41mm.
Young larvae are blackish with several small spines per segment and a white dorsal patch, making them look like a small bird dropping. In later instars the caterpillars lose their spines and their camouflage when they get a green ground color with each segment wearing a black transverse band with red spots.
A thorough description of the bionomics of this species can be found on the Butterflies in the Benelux website.
The adults fly in two generations a year: from late April till the end of June, and from early July till the end of August with singletons flying into autumn.
The larva lives on several species of Umbelliferae, commonly on Daucus carota and Foeniculum vulgare. Eggs are often laid on small plants on bare ground. Caterpillars are commonly found in gardens.
This is a widespread species in Belgium, especially to be found on warmer grasslands. Not only natural (calcareous) grasslands but also along south-facing dikes and roadsides, on former slag heaps, in gardens,... Males can be found hill-topping.