Posing on a plantain flower.Our orchard is home to a good population of Glanville Fritillary butterflies Melitaea cinxia (la Mélitée du plantain in French). In April I had to be careful not to tread on the caterpillars as they munched their way through the Speedwell Veronica spp (our Glanville caterpillars seem to prefer the speedwell to the Plantain Plantago spp, although I have seen them on plantain as well).
The distinctive caterpillar with its black body and red head.I particularly like this butterfly, not least because there is a nice story attached to its English name. It is named after Lady Eleanor Glanville, a 17th century English aristocrat and one of the first people to seriously study butterflies. Parts of her natural history collection and correspondence still exist, kept in the Natural History Museum in London. When she died, her son tried to overturn her will on the grounds that no sane person could be that interested in insects, and therefore her will, with which he was disappointed, was invalid.
Resting with wings folded.On cool days they will pose on flowers for a considerable time, but once the weather warms up they are amongst the most difficult creatures to photograph, flitting from flower to flower and zig-zagging across the top of the grass.
Feeding on a wild Geranium spp (cranesbill).They are common in the Touraine, on the wing from April to September.