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Lasiommata petropolitana (Fabricius, 1787)

This species of the butterfly family Satyridae was chosen to embellish our front page for quite understandable patriotic reasons :) This butterfly was named after St. Petersburg, the neighbourhood of which are said to be the species type-locality. Our region could hardly have any insect endemics and there are only few insects named after it, so our particular fondness for this infrequent butterfly can be easily forgiven. The picture by Richard Lewington is borrowed with some losses in its quality from the excellent book by Tolman & Lewington (1998).

Larvae feed upon grasses (Poa sp., Calamagrostis epigeios, Festuca ovina, Dactylus glomerata).

In the St. Petersburg region, one can meet the butterfly on peatbogs, wet clearings in the taiga, and roadsides from the end of May through the end of June.

In Europe L. petropolitana is distributed locally in Fennoscandia and in the mountain regions of Southern Europe (Pyreneas, Alps, Balcans, Carpatians) and Turkey. The whole range spreads from Europe to the Far East of continental Asia (Amur).

The data on foodplants and distribution are borrowed from Tolman & Lewington (1998); the notes on the occurrence in the St. Petersburg region, from the paper by Derzhavets et al. (1986).

Derzhavets, Yu.A., A.I. Ivanov, V.G. Mironov, O.A. Mischenko, V.N. Prasolov, and S.Yu. Sinev. A check-list of Macrolepidoptera of the Leningrad region. Trudy Vsesoiuznogo Entomologicheskogo Obschestva, vol. 67 (Fauna chashuiekrylykh (Lepidoptera) SSSR). Leningrad: Nauka, 1986. p. 186-270. (in Russian).

Tolman, T. and Lewington, R. Die Tagfalter Europas und Nordwestafrikas. Mit ueber 2000 Farbillustrationen von Richard Lewington und 429 verbreitungskarten von Tom Tolman. Aus dem Englischen uebersetzt und bearbeitet von Matthias Nuss. Stuttgart: Kosmos, 1998.

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