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Turquoise. (44)
peter_stoeckl Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)
Adscita geryon (Hübner, 1813)

Sonnenröschen-Grünwidderchen, Turquoise de l'Hélianthème, Cistus Forester, Ritka fémlepke, Пестрянка нежниковая …

Family: Zygaenidae

Wing span: 20 – 30 mm

Green burnets are said to prefer purple and blue flowers for visiting, but that couple of green burnets had chosen a fresh blossom of deep yellow Arnica montana swaying in the breeze of late afternoon as a most picturesque stage for its act of copulation. I was happy to observe them at an elevation of 2300m on my way down from the mountain meadows of Ramolalm above Vent in the Central Alps of Northern Tyrol.

The male’s antennae are formed like brushes while the female’s ones are formed like clubs. In that species, pheromones seem to play an important role for the male to find the other sex. By the way, the male seems to be significantly larger than the female – rather unusual among butterflies and moths.

With 8 different very similar looking green burnets reported from Central Europe, determining the exact species requires specialized and detailed knowledge plus a microscope – both of them not available to me up in the mountains. The couple shown here is likely to belong to Adscita geryon (Hübner, 1813), a threatened species known from xerothermic dry meadows of southern and central Europe, in the mountains up to 2400m. Its caterpillars would feed on Helianthemum that I also found in blossom at that slope.

However, that couple of green burnets may also belong to Adscita alpina (Alberti, 1837), an adriomediterranean endemite species of the Southeastern and Central Alps, residing on rocky and stony slopes from low elevations up to above 2000m with its its caterpillars‘ feeding plant Rumex scutatus.


Location:

Ramolalm above Vent, inner Oetztal valley, at an elevation of approx. 2300m.


Literature:

Christopher Jonko: Butterflies and Moths of Europe.
http://www.lepidoptera.pl/

Wolfgang Wagner: Schmetterlinge und ihre Ökologie. http://www.pyrgus.de/Adscita_alpina.html


The camera:

FUJIFILM FinePix HS20 EXR, 4608 x 3456 pixels, sRGB, 30mm macro zoom (equivalent 180 mm at full size SLR), F/8, 1/180sec., ISO-200, hand held, no flash. 05.07.2011, 18:43.


Postwork:

Adobe Photoshop CS4, cropped at the left and the right, resized to web, selectively resharpened, levels slighty adjusted.

Thank you for looking.
Have a very good day.

Altered Image #1

peter_stoeckl Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)
The location.
Edited by:peter_stoeckl Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)

Ramolalm, located several hundred meters above the remote village of Vent in the back of the Oetztal valley, has mountain meadows filled with rich alpine vegetation among Arolla pines (Pinus cembra) well above the forest line. It also offers a breathtaking panoramic view including the peak of Similaun (3606m) at the Austro-Italian border, next to the finding place of the famous stoneage hunter Ötzi the Iceman.

The camera: FUJIFILM FinePix HS20 EXR, 4608 x 3456 pixels, sRGB, 20mm tele zoom (equivalent 120 mm at full size SLR), F/7.1, 1/850sec., bias -1.3, ISO-200, hand held, no flash. 05.07.2011, 18:26.

Hope you enjoy.