Scolitantides orion

Scolitantides orion

"Flower or Butterfly?" A timeless quiz: let's refresh it with her! Literally, its first scientific name means "curved flower", from the union of the Greek terms "scolios" (curved) and "anthos" (flower).

Its size, however, is quite remarkable and the male can reach 16mm, making it a true giant (for a Lycenid) like Orion: the giant hunter of Greek and Latin mythology. This species of butterfly is the only representative of the genus Scolitantides, it lives in rocky areas up to 1,500 m altitude, and its caterpillar feeds on plants of the genus Sedum. In Italy it is only found in northern regions but its presence spans from Spain all the way to Japan.

The caterpillars of this butterfly can be myrmecophilous, meaning they establish a parasitic relationship with a community of ants. Unlike its cousins of the Polyommatinae subfamily, Scolitantides Orion, has a lackluster upper side of the wings, with the usual bright blue typical of the males of this subfamily, limited only to some areas of the upper page of the front wing. On the other hand, however, this butterfly is a real trendsetter and wears a beautiful animalier pattern on the ventral page of its wings, characterized by rounded black spots on a white-beige background and a distinctive orange band across the hind wing.


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