Carcharodus alceae (Esper, 1780)


Carcharodus alceae: Adult Carcharodus alceae: Adult (e.l. Südspanien) [S] Carcharodus alceae: Adult (eastern Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, Kuchener Tal, August 2010) [N] Carcharodus alceae: Adult (N-Greece, Smolikas, late June 2013) [N] Carcharodus alceae: Female-upper side [S] Carcharodus alceae: Adult (eastern Swabian Alb) [S] Carcharodus alceae: Lower side [S] Carcharodus alceae: Adult (e.l. Südspanien) [S] Carcharodus alceae: Mating (N-Greece, Thessaloniki, late June 2013) [N] Carcharodus alceae: Ovum [N] Carcharodus alceae: Ovum (Upper Rhine, September 2011) [N] Carcharodus alceae: L3 [M] Carcharodus alceae: Shelter of a L3 (Greece) [N] Carcharodus alceae: Larva in penultimate instar [S] Carcharodus alceae: Half-grown larva (Sardinia, May 2012) [M] Carcharodus alceae: Larva [M] Carcharodus alceae: Larva [S] Carcharodus alceae: Larva [S] Carcharodus alceae: Larva [S] Carcharodus alceae: Larva (e.l. Greece 2008) [S] Carcharodus alceae: Larva (Provence, late April 2013). This individual must have hibernated half-grown. [M] Carcharodus alceae: Larva [S] Carcharodus alceae: Pupa (e.l. Provence 2013) [S] Carcharodus alceae: Pupa (e.l. Provence 2013) [S] Carcharodus alceae: Pupa [S] Carcharodus alceae: Pupa [S] Carcharodus alceae: Typical open habitat with singly occurring Malvaceae in Northern Greece (May 2011) [N] Carcharodus alceae: Habitat in Northern Greece south of Mount Olympus (May 2011) [N]

Host plants:
Malvaceae, in Central Europe usually Malva moschata and M. alcea, in the South often Malva neglegta or Althaea.

Habitat:
Carcharodus alceae colonizes dry warm open areas with the larval host plants such as calcareous grasslands, ruderal areas, road side verges, flood embankments and quarries. In Southern Europe Carcharodus alceae is a ubiquist, which reproduces also in urban areas. This species spreads in Central Europe in the course of global warming and an increasement of Malvaceae in gardens and along roads.

Life cycle:
There are several generations per year. In Central Europe Carcharodus alceae usually occurs in two generations with butterflies from late April to June and again from mid-July to early September. In the south there are mostly at least three generations in lower elevations.
The caterpillar overwinters in most cases mature and pupates in the spring without re-feeding. After late oviposition (i.e. in late August and September), I observed, however, also hibernation in penultimate instar or younger. Moreover I observed feeding mature larvae in April in Provence (Alpilles, 2013).

Endangerment: endangered

Endangerment factors:
In Central Europe this species is threatened by the disappearance of extensively managed grasslands, ruderal areas (overbuilding!) and wrong, because to intensive mowing of road side verges and flood embankments around the Rhine.

In recent years (2010 and 2011), for example in the Swabian Alb - but also elsewhere - you can observe an increasement probably due to climate warming and the spread of hollyhocks on roadsides. So I found caterpillars on the southwestern Swabian Alb near Veringendorf (Germany) and on the eastern Swabian Alb near Dischingen and Neresheim in 2011. In both locations these were the first observations.

Remarks:
Carcharodus alceae is distributed from Southern Spain across Southern and Central Europe to North India and China.



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