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Butterflies of temperate Asia
Sagana Fritillary
Argynnis sagana  DOUBLEDAY, 1847
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - HELICONIINAE
Tribe - ARGYNNINI
Argynnis sagana male, Sichuan, China Tony Hoare
Introduction
The genus Argynnis comprises of about 25 species, found variously in Europe, temperate Asia and North America. Certain workers include an additional 18 Speyeria species within Argynnis. Further confusion arises because some writers persist in referring to several of the 25 true Argynnis species by junior invalid synonyms e.g. Fabriciana, Mesoacidalia and Damora.
Most Argynnis species are quite large, circa 65mm wingspan. They typically have a bright fulvous-orange ground colour, with a conspicuous pattern of black spots. Males have long streaks of black androconial scales along the veins on the forewings. Females of most species are similar to males but lack the androconia, and are duller in colour. Argynnis sagana is strongly sexually dimorphic - females are black, with large white spots on the forewings, and a white band across the hindwings. The underside hindwings of sagana, paphia, anadyomene and pandora are greenish or ochreous, marked with silver streaks. Most other species have an olive or yellowish ground colour, spangled with large silver spots.
Argynnis sagana is found in China, Siberia, Mongolia and Japan.
Argynnis sagana male, Sichuan, China Andrew Neild
Habitats
This species is found in deciduous forests.
Lifecycle
The fully grown larva is black with prominent orange spikes along the back and sides. It feeds on various Viola species ( Violaceae ). The pupa is pale brown with a slight golden sheen, and has large silvery spots on the thorax. It is suspended by the cremaster from a woody stem.
Adult behaviour

Males of all Argynnis species commonly imbibe mineralised moisture from paths and stony tracks. Both sexes nectar at a wide range of flowering plants, but particularly favour thistles, knapweeds, brambles, umbellifers and Eupatorium.

Argynnis sagana male, Sichuan, China Andrew Neild

 

 

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