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Butterfly taxonomy (classification) The skippers The swallowtails The whites The hairstreaks, coppers and blues. Includes the Duke of Burgundy. The nymphalids, fritillaries and browns. Includes the Monarch.
Duke-of-Burgundy Dunstable 1 May 2011- 03C5049
Wingspan
Male: 29 - 32mm
Female: 31 - 34mm
Photo © IainLeach
Duke of Burgundy

Hamearis lucina
ha-mee-AY-riss
loo-SY-nuh
Number: 60.001
B&F No.: 1582
Family:Riodinidae (Grote, 1895)
Subfamily:Riodininae (Grote, 1895)
Tribe:Hamearini (Tutt, 1906)
Genus:Hamearis (Hübner, 1819)
Subgenus: 
Species:lucina (Linnaeus, 1758)
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  Introduction  

The Duke of Burgundy is the sole representative of a subfamily known as the "metalmarks", since some of its cousins, particularly those found in south America, have a metallic appearance. A curious characteristic of this subfamily is that the female has 6 fully-functional legs, whereas the male has only 4 - the forelegs being greatly reduced. The Duke of Burgundy was once classified as a fritillary, given the similarity with those fritillary species found in the British Isles. This butterfly is found mainly in central southern England, although scattered colonies are found elsewhere such as in the north of England in Cumbria and Yorkshire. This species is not found in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands. Although relatively-large colonies exist, most colonies only contain around a dozen individuals at the peak of the flight season.

Hamearis lucina

This species was first defined in Linnaeus (1758) as shown here (type locality: Europe).


Duke of Burgundy, Male - Denge Wood, Kent 24-May-12
Male
Photo © essexbuzzard
Duke of Burgundy male - Noar Hill, Hampshire 2013
Male Underside
Photo © Mike Young
Duke of Burgundy female - Heyshott Escarpment, Sussex  18-May-2013
Female
Photo © Neil Hulme
Duke of Burgundy female - Noar Hill 2010
Female Underside
Photo © Mike Young

  Phenology  

There is one brood each year, with the adults emerging at the end of April in southern sites, peaking in the middle of May. A partial second brood may appear in some years, but this is the exception, rather than the rule, and only occurs in certain sites in the south of England.


The chart(s) above have been correlated with the phenology plot below, taken from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. The blue line gives average counts over the full data set from 1976 to date, and the red line gives the average for the last year.


  Habitat  

This butterfly was, in the past, primarily known as a woodland butterfly, where it fed on Primroses growing in dappled sunlight, with a number of colonies in chalk and limestone grassland. However, the cessation of coppicing in woodlands has had a marked effect on this species, with many woodland colonies dying out as a result. Primrose is used as the larval foodplant in woodland, whereas Cowslip is used on grassland.

  Larval Foodplants  

The primary larval foodplants are Cowslip (Primula veris) and Primrose (Primula vulgaris). False Oxlip (Primula veris x vulgaris) is also used.

  Nectar Sources  

Adults feed primarily on Tormentil (Potentilla erecta). Bugle (Ajuga reptans), Buttercups (Ranunculus spp.), Hawthorns (various) (Crataegus spp.) and Wood Spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides) are also used.

  Imago  

The sexes are similar in appearance, although the female tends to have more orange on the wings and rounder tips to the forewings. The male and female can also be distinguished by behaviour. The fast-flying males are extremely territorial and will sit on a favourite perch, darting out to inspect anything that might be a passing female. Once a virgin female is encountered, the two mate without any discernable courtship. This is usually in mid-morning just after the females have emerged. The flight of the female is not as rapid as the male and they are often seen when egg-laying as they move from plant to plant, landing on the edge of a leaf before curling their abdomen to lay on the underside of the leaf.

Adults only occasionally nectar, usually in warmer weather, with Wood Spurge, Buttercup, Hawthorn and Bugle being favourites. Both sexes roost in tall scrub or trees.


Duke of Burgundy - imago - Nr Stockbridge Down - 08-May-09 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
08-May-2009
Duke of Burgundy - imago - Nr Stockbridge Down - 12-May-06 (0095)
Photo © Pete Eeles
12-May-2006
Duke of Burgundy - imago - Nr. Stockbridge Down - 18-Apr-07 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
18-Apr-2007
duke of burgundy female, undersides  near stockbridge down 06
Photo © geniculata
14-May-2006
Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Gruditch
11-May-2008
duke of burgundy female, underside near stockbridge down 06
Photo © geniculata
14-May-2006
Duke of Burgundy - Noar Hill - 15 May 2010 (2)
Photo © Clive
15-May-2010
Duke of Burgundy (female), West Sussex (22 May 2012)
Photo © Mark Colvin
22-May-2012
Duke of Burgundy - imago - Nr Stockbridge Down - 21-May-10 (2)
Photo © Pete Eeles
21-May-2010
Duke of Burgundy - imago - Thatcham - 15-May-10 (5) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles
15-May-2010
Duke of Burgundy Female - Noar Hill, Hampshire 28-April-10
Photo © Vince Massimo
28-Apr-2010
Duke of Burgundy Male - Noar Hill, Hampshire 28-April-10
Photo © Vince Massimo
28-Apr-2010
Duke of Burgundy Male - Noar Hill, Hampshire 28-April-10
Photo © Vince Massimo
28-Apr-2010
Duke of Burgundy Pair - Noar Hill, Hampsire 28-April-10
Photo © Vince Massimo
28-Apr-2010
Duke of Burgundy Pair - Noar Hill, Hampsire 28-April-10
Photo © Vince Massimo
28-Apr-2010
Duke of Burgundy (female), West Sussex (19 May 2012)
Photo © Mark Colvin
19-May-2012
Duke-of-Burgundy Dunstable 1 May 2011- 03C5049
Photo © IainLeach
Duke-of-Burgundy Dunstable 22 May 2010- I9T2921
Photo © IainLeach
Duke-of-Burgundy Dunstable 1 May 2011- I9T7203
Photo © IainLeach
Duke-of-Burgundy Dunstable 1 May 2011- I9T6835
Photo © IainLeach
Duke-of-Burgundy Dunstable 1 May 2011- 03C4788
Photo © IainLeach
Duke-of-Burgundy Dunstable 1 May 2011- 03C3100
Photo © IainLeach
Duke of Burgundy (copulating), West Sussex (19 May 2012)
Photo © Mark Colvin
19-May-2012
Duke of Burgundy. Bentley Wood. 25/5/2010.
Photo © badgerbob
25-May-2010
P1030028a Duke of Burgundy, Noar Hill, 30/04/2012
Photo © Pauline
30-Apr-2012
Duke of Burgundy, Male - Denge Wood, Kent 24-May-12
Photo © essexbuzzard
24-May-2012
Duke of Burgundy (ovipositing female) - Heyshott Escarpment, Sussex 19-May-2012
Photo © Neil Hulme
19-May-2012
Duke of Burgundy female - Rodbrough Common May 17th 2012.
Photo © Nigel Kiteley
17-May-2012
Duke of Burgundy male - Noar Hill 30-April-2013
Photo © Maximus
Duke of Burgundy female - Heyshott Escarpment, Sussex  18-May-2013
Photo © Neil Hulme
18-May-2013
Duke of Burgundy - imago - Nr. Stockbridge Down - 22-May-13
Photo © Pete Eeles
Duke of Burgundy - imago - Nr. Stockbridge Down - 22-May-13-2
Photo © Pete Eeles
Duke-of-Burgundy- 5D39075 Dunstable May 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Duke of Burgundy male - Noar Hill, Hampshire 2013
Photo © Mike Young
Duke of Burgundy female - Noar Hill 2010
Photo © Mike Young
Duke of Burgundy male (second brood) - Noar Hill, Hampshire 5-Aug-2007
Photo © Mike Young
Second Brood
Duke of Burgundy - Noar Hill, Hampshire 15-April-2014
Photo © Neil Hulme
15-Apr-2014
Duke of Burgundy male - Heyshott Escarpment, Sussex  9-May-2014
Photo © Neil Hulme
09-May-2014
Duke of Burgundy male - Denge Wood, Kent 7-May-2014
Photo © Hoggers
07-May-2014
Duke of Burgundy - Wilts - 31-05-2014
Photo © Wurzel
Duke of Burgundy - Wiltshire - 05-05-2014
Photo © Wurzel
Duke of Burgundy female - Heyshott, Escarpment, Sussex 29-April-2014
Photo © Neil Hulme
29-Apr-2014
Duke of Burgundy female - Heyshott Escarpment 29-April-2014
Photo © Neil Hulme
29-Apr-2014
Duke of Burgundy ovipositing - Cerne Abbas - 19th - May - 2014
Photo © Maximus
19-May-2014
Duke of Burgundy female - Storrington Downs, Sussex 23-May-2014
Photo © Neil Hulme
23-May-2014
Duke of Burgundy - female - Noar Hill - 17-Apr-14-6
Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Apr-2014
Duke of Burgundy - female - Noar Hill - 17-Apr-14-9
Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Apr-2014
Duke of Burgundy - image - Noar Hill - 14-May-14-2
Photo © Pete Eeles
14-May-2014
Duke of Burgundy - image - Noar Hill - 14-May-14
Photo © Pete Eeles
14-May-2014
Duke of Burgundy male (Second Brood) - Noar Hill - 8th August - 2014
Photo © Maximus
Second Brood
08-Aug-2014

  Aberrations  

Description to be completed.

Click here to see a full list of aberrations for this species.

Unclassified Aberrations


Female Duke of Burgundy. Denge. 9/5/2014.
Photo © badgerbob
09-May-2014
Female Duke of Burgundy. Denge. 9/5/2014.
Photo © badgerbob
09-May-2014

ab. albomaculata (Blachier.Bull.Soc.Lep.Gen.1909.1.p.379.pl.9.f.3.)

= constellata Lambillion.Rev.Mens.Soc.Ent.Nam.1913.13.p.100.

The median spots of the hindwings upperside are white instead of tawny.


22.5.2012  Duke of Burgundy, male, Heyshott
Photo © hideandseek
22-May-2012

ab. gracilens (Derenne.Lamb.1927.27.p.11.)

All the black bands reduced, allowing an extension of the ground colour.


Duke of Burgundy (ab. gracilens) - Thurlbear Quarrylands, Somerset - 28-Apr-07 (2) [Paul Luxton]
Photo © Paul Luxton
Duke of Burgundy (ab. gracilens) - Thurlbear Quarrylands, Somerset - 28-Apr-07 [Paul Luxton]
Photo © Paul Luxton

ab. leucodes (Lambillion.Rev.Mens.Soc.Ent.Nam.1913.p.100.)

The ground colour whitish instead of the usual fulvous.


Hamearis  lucina  ab. leucodes, Totternhoe 28th May 2009
Photo © NickB
28-May-2009
Duke of Burgundy ab. leucodes - Totternhoe Quarry 12.05.12
Photo © PhiliB
12-May-2012
Duke of Burgundy (ab. leucodes) - Sussex 19-May-2009
Photo © Neil Hulme
19-May-2009

  Ovum  

Eggs are normally laid singly, or in small batches of just 3 or 4 eggs, on the underside of the edge of a leaf of the foodplant. Nearby foliage may be used on occasion, especially when the foodplant is within dense vegetation. Large, lush, green-leaved plants are typically used, either among grasses or close to scrub. Snails are known to cause heavy losses of eggs, as they feed on primula leaves during the spring. Eggs hatch in 1 to 3 weeks, depending on the weather.


Duke of  Burgundy eggs - Arundel, Sussex 12-May-2012
Photo © Neil Hulme
12-May-2012
Duke of Burgundy - ovum- Noar Hill - 20-May-14-7
Photo © Pete Eeles
20-May-2014
Duke of Burgundy - ovum- Noar Hill - 20-May-14-9
Photo © Pete Eeles
20-May-2014
Duke of Burgundy - ovum- Noar Hill - 20-May-14-10
Photo © Pete Eeles
20-May-2014
Duke of Burgundy - ovum- Noar Hill - 20-May-14-12
Photo © Pete Eeles
20-May-2014
Duke of Burgundy - ovum- Noar Hill - 20-May-14
Photo © Pete Eeles
20-May-2014

  Larva  

On hatching, the young larva eats its eggshell before moving to the base of the foodplant, feeding only at night. Larvae emerge at dusk, and can be found in torchlight, usually feeding on the upperside of the leaves. A tell-tale sign of a larva is a characteristic patchwork of holes made in the leaf surface, leaving the major veins intact. There are 3 moults in total and this stage lasts around 6 weeks.


Duke of Burgundy - larva - Thatcham - 20-Jun-09 (2) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Jun-2009
Duke of Burgundy - larva - Thatcham - 20-Jun-09 (3) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Jun-2009
Duke of Burgundy - larva - Thatcham - 29-Jun-09 (1) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles
29-Jun-2009
Duke of Burgundy - larva - Thatcham - 27-Jun-14 [REARED]-2
Photo © Pete Eeles
27-Jun-2014
Duke of Burgundy - larva - Thatcham - 27-Jun-14 [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
27-Jun-2014

  Pupa  

The pupa is usually formed away from the foodplant in leaf litter, a grass tussock or other vegetation, secured by a silk girdle and the cremaster. It is believed that shrews are responsible for heavy losses during the pupal stage in which this species hibernates.


Duke of Burgundy - pupa - Thatcham - 07-May-05 [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
07-May-2005
Duke of Burgundy - pupa - Thatcham - 25-Mar-05 [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
25-Mar-2005
Duke of Burgundy - pupa - Thatcham - 19-Jul-09 (1) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles
19-Jul-2009
Duke of Burgundy - pupa - Thatcham - 23-Jul-14 [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
23-Jul-2014

  Similar Species  

No similar species found.

  Videos  

Video © nationaltrustcharity
Rescuing a rarity - the Duke of Burgundy Butterfly
Video © John Chapple
Duke of Burgundy Fritillary. Noar Hill, Hampshire.13/05/2012
Video © John Chapple
Duke Of Burgundy 'Pairing'. Cerne Abbas, Dorset. May 2014

  Sites  

Click here to see the distribution of this species overlaid with specific site information. Alternatively, select one of the sites listed below.

Sites
Aston Upthorpe Downs, Batcome Hill, Beacon Hill, Bison Hill, Blackmoor Copse, Buckland Wood, Butser Hill, Cerne Hill Giant, Clubmen's Down, Crab Wood, Dancersend, Dean Hill (West), Denge Forest, Duchie's Piece, Fontmell Down, Gait Barrows, Grangelands, Headley Heath, Ivinghoe, Langley Burrell, Morgan's Hill, Noar Hill, Park Wood, Prestbury Hill, Sewell Cutting, Strawberry Banks, Stubhampton Bottom, Thurlbear Quarrylands, Totternhoe Knolls and Quarry, Whipsnade, Whitbarrow Scar, Witch Lodge Fields

  Conservation Status  

Long-term distribution and population trends show that this butterfly is in serious decline. It is therefore a priority species for conservation efforts. It is thought that this species is unable to survive intensive grazing of chalk and limestone grasslands and that this is, at least, one possible cause of the decline. It is also unable to tolerate areas where the foodplant becomes too shaded by surrounding shrubs and grasses. A delicate balance therefore exists that requires specific site management to cater for this delightful little butterfly.

UK BAP StatusDistribution Trend (%)Population Trend (%)
Priority Species
Click here to access the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for this species.
Decrease-30Decrease-46

The table above shows the distribution and population trends of species regularly found in the British Isles. The distribution trend represents a comparison between data for the periods 1995-1999 and 2005-2009. The information provided is taken from the Butterfly Conservation report The State of the UK's Butterflies 2011. The UK BAP status is taken from the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) (2007 review).


  Links  

The following links provide additional information on this butterfly.

  References  

The species description provided here references the following publications:

ReferenceDetails
Linnaeus (1758) Linnaeus, C.: Systema Naturae. Edn.10. 1758.

  Copyright © Peter Eeles 2002-2014
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