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Photo Information
Copyright: Peter Stoeckl (peter_stoeckl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-07-16
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/80 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Naturpark Oetztal [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-08-10 5:19
Viewed: 5418
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 58
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note

Euphydryas cynthia (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)

Cynthia`s Fritillary
Witbonte parelmoervlinder
Damier des alpages

Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Heliconiinae
Wing span: 35 – 45mm

An endemite of the European Alps of France, Switzerland, Northern Italy and Austria - and the Rila mountains in Bulgaria, Euphydryas cynthia is a surprising sight whenever you get the chance to cross its way during a mountain trip high up above the forest line.

The males, in particular, look quite conspicuous and unique. Even at first sight they cannot be mistaken:

View from the distance.

Euphydryas cynthia seems to be a determined inhabitant of high alpine regions above the forest line. Reported by literature to be met between 900m and 3000m, I never met it any lower than 2500m above sea level.

Females are looking distinctly different: orange brown, quite similar to Euphydryas aurinia.

The female.

Caterpillars feed on Plantago alpina, and also on Viola calcarata. Butterflies may be found in June and July, but they may be very rare or even missing in some years. Their very exposed habitats would suggest that a generation’s development might take more than one year. Caterpillars indeed are hibernating twice, releasing a new generation of butterflies every three years only.

Having met E. cynthia not very often in the past – and always just single individuals, either old and battered ones or out of reach in long distance, I was more successful during this rather rainy summer, coming to see several individuals in different locations of the Oetztal mountains in elevations between 2500 and 2800m, most of them females, and finally also two males crossing our path as a lucky event in the afternoon when we were tiredly walking down from an extended trip to the iceman’s finding place.

Taken at an elevation of 2750m at Similaun glacier, near Vent, Oetztal valley, Tyrol.

The location.

Tom Tolman, Richard Lewington: Die Tagfalter Europas und Nordwestafrikas. Stuttgart 1998
Heiko Bellmann: Schmetterlinge. Erkennen & bestimmen. München 2001
Peter Huemer, Christian Wieser: Nationalpark Hohe Tauern Schmetterlinge, Matrei i.O. 2008
Christopher Jonko: Butterflies and Moths of Europe. http://www.lepidoptera.pl/

The camera:
SONY DSC-HX1, 3456 x 2592 pixels, sRGB, 15mm macro zoom (equivalent 83 mm at full size SLR), F/6.3, 1/80sec., ISO-125, bias -0.7, close distance, hand held, no flash. 16.07.2009, 15:45.

Photoshop Elements, slightly cropped, downsized to web, selectively resharpened, levels slighty adjusted.

Thank you for looking.
Have a nice sunny day.

parasbhalla, goatman04, flashpoint, horias, uleko, goldyrs, eqshannon, red45, sandpiper2, Noisette, jcoowanitwong, Merlin, buscape, meyerd, maurydv, marhowie, Alex99, anel has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To anel: ... hoch obenpeter_stoeckl 1 12-21 13:20
To uleko: rock-climbing a worth-while activity...peter_stoeckl 1 08-13 03:57
To batu: TN-Aktivitäten ...peter_stoeckl 1 08-13 03:54
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Peter,

Wonderful macro shot of the Cynthia's Fritillary!
The colors of the butterfly are well defined in your picture and so are the sharpness and POV. The DOF is just amazing. I like the great details of the hairs on the thoray part of the butterfly. The antennae are beautifully shown. The rock in BG gives great contrast to the colors textures of the butterfly.
Well done!

thanks and regards,
Paras Bhalla

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-08-10 5:56]

Hello Peter,
How wonderful to see and photograph this species, especially the male, like you have done in this fine close portrait!
The dorsal POV against the light coloured rock is just right and taken with excellent sharpness and colours.
It reminds me of iduna that I have yet to capture digitally, but this species is even more striking.
Thanks for delighting us with this!
Best regards,

PS: many thanks for your kind remarks on my third anniversary with TN!

Hello Peter,

A great shot with beautiful colors, sharpness & fine details. Well done & TFS.



  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2009-08-10 6:52]

Hello Peter
First I want to thank you for workshop, it is realy useful.
I like you capture, it's very sharp and focus is perfect

hello Peter!
a pleasant capture of this alpine species
between the rocks ... formidable livery details of the wings and excellent focus
best regards sERGIO

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2009-08-10 7:45]

Wonderful and superb capture!
Sharpness is in the top!
Natural colors!

  • Great 
  • batu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1079 W: 293 N: 4497] (16383)
  • [2009-08-10 9:31]
  • [+]

Lieber Peter,
ich sehe ... auch du warst erfolgreich mit der Kamera unterwegs. Cynthia hast du wundervoll und scharf getroffen. Die Art, inklusive der Weibchen, gehört sicher zu den attraktivsten europäischen Scheckenfaltern. Eigentlich wollte ich heute mit einer kleinen Scheckenfalter-Serie beginnen - das habe ich nun verschoben. Ich denke wir werden uns da ergänzen.
Schöne Grüße, Peter

P.S. Ich war jetzt über 3 Wochen in den Alpen unterwegs. Davor hatte ich meine TN-Aktivitäten etwas eingeschränkt und wollte sie jetzt wieder verstärken. Schön, dass du genau zu diesem Zeitpunkt auch wieder dabei bist - das motiviert mich noch mehr.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-08-10 9:52]
  • [+]

Hello Peter,
What a stunning beauty this is and your capture is brilliant! I can't recall having seen anything like this before and I'm most impressed. Excellent sharp details and wonderful colours. It surely must make rock-climbing a worth-while activity!!
Many thanks and all the best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-08-10 10:10]

Hello Peter,
Extreme sharp detailed photo of this butterfly. Beautiful clear and natural colours. Very good composition, DOF, POV and contrasting surroundings.

A very beautiful shot, Peter!
I love the sharpess and the classic POV!

Hi Peter,
Thanks for sharing this rare beauty, very well taken. This is a perfect specimen and your photo is sharp, with beautiful light. Very interesting to see the location too. Cheers,

Sirven los comentarios que te hice a tu anterior fotografía para esta también. Belleza en los colores y mucho, mucho realismo :-)

Saludos Peter.

Probably the best backdrop one could ask for Peter....and teh offset showing a bit more of the back works here..normally not but yours is neutral so it works better than fine!

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2009-08-10 23:06]

Beautiful b&w (almost) butterfly captured fine. tfs.

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2009-08-11 1:46]

Hi Peter!

Fantastic capture. I've never seen this specie - it looks very stylish with orange/black/white mix of colours. Well composed with colorfull rock, sharp and detailed. Excellent post.

Hi Peter

Excellent shot of this beautiful butterfly
Great pose, good composition
Excellent sharpness and details


hello peter
great composition with good details and great sharpness
super colours and good light
greeting lou

Hallo Peter
sie haben so schöne schmetterlinge bei euch, diesezr ist wunderbar und sie haben ihn perfect abgenomme mit seinen Flügel weit offen und mit sehr scharfen details
schöne Farben und gute Note
Ich wünche ihnen eine gute Nacht


Good catch Peter, I think you handled properly light conditions, the level of detail achieved is good. The color is perfect and well balanced, the sharpness I'm impressed. Excellent, nice work. Congratulations!


Hi Peter,
Sharp focus and well exposed photo. Lovely composition. Very well done and TFS.

This is fantastic. What an extraordinary fritillary! You have preserved the natural colours and softly hairy body very nicely, and focus is perfect. I envy you this experience and thank you for sharing this - a new species to me.
Best wishes, Nigel.

Hallo Peter,
sehr schöne Aufnahme von diesem männlichen Cynthia-Exemplar mit toller Schärfe und vielen Details. Der steinige Hintergrund in harmonischen Farben gefällt mir ebenfalls ausgezeichnet. Der Text ist ausgesprochen informativ und lehrreich.
Viele Grüsse,

  • Great 
  • meyerd Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 585 W: 64 N: 2238] (7531)
  • [2009-08-25 12:02]

Lieber Peter,
Du überrascht mich gleich zweimal mit dem Bild. Ich habe noch nie einen solchen Falter gesehen, prächtig ist er. Und Du hast eine neue Cybershot verwendet, die offensichtlich in Deiner Hand wiederum Spitzenresultate liefert.
Mit herzlichem Gruss,

Hello Peter,
what a wonderful picture of Euphydryas cynthia taken from an excellent POV with superb sharpness and marvellous colours, i like this very pleasing composition with a great pose of the butterfly on the rock.
Best regards

Very good color and exposure of this difficult B&W combo Peter.
Beautiful species.
I've always appreciated the variety of winged wonders you present here on TN :)

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2009-10-27 10:13]

Hi Peter.
I am impressed with your post a lot. Great presentation of the pictured species and wonderful place where it lives. At main shot you managed to achieve amazing 3D-effect. I feel myself very close to this fine specimen. All its details are extreme. Colour reproduction is precise despite the high contrast. I like wonderful diagonal composition too. All ion all next your outstanding shot and fine post at whole. My best wishes and TFS.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2009-12-21 4:59]
  • [+]

Lieber Peter,
Habe noch ein Bild gefunden, das mir entgangen ist! Wirklich eine Schönheit! Diesen Schmetterling habe ich leider noch nie gesehen. Scheint aber wirklich hoch oben zu hausen!
Wie immer perfekte Bildschärfe und angenehme Komposition.
Ich möchte Dir und Deiner Familie noch Frohe Weihnachten wünschen und hoffe immer noch, bald wieder ein Stoeckl-Bild zu sehen. Morgen fahren wir in die Berge.
Herzlich grüsst

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-04-24 5:46]

Hi Peter,
another lovely image in a stunning clarity. i like the details you showed on the body hairy and intense colour.
The antenna is so sharp that its BW stripes is so lovely.
well presented shoti in excellent composition.


  • Great 
  • periko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 70 W: 2 N: 145] (1487)
  • [2016-05-17 21:01]

Hi Peter
This pattern looks like a feline face. Impressive!
The butterfly does not know that has a protective shield.
Sharpness and exposure are perfect.


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