In Central Europe the caterpillars live on Stachys recta, but in Southeastern Europe sometimes on other Stachys sp.
Carcharodus lavatherae inhabits cliffs and heathland. In Germany it occurs as a thermal relict only locally in the Middle Rhine Valley.
Carcharodus lavatherae appears in one generation between May and July (early August). In the Italian Valle di Susa I found adults in the second half of May 2002 and in Northern Greece in mid-July 2006 (Mount Falakron).
In early July 2008 I observed adults, eggs and young caterpillars in the Swiss Valais. The eggs are laid on just faded inflorescence sections on or in the calyx. They are morphologically similar to those of Carcharodus baeticus, but are more elongated and attached laterally (horizontal type). That certainly derived from the original typical standing type of the other Carcharodus species secondarily.
At first, the caterpillar feeds on the developing seeds and webs the calyx opening loosely. It usually overwinters as L3 and is fully-grown in May. Then it lives close to the ground in a housing made of leaves and occasionally also litter. I observed caterpillars in the Susa Valley (Piedmont), in the Vinschgau (South Tyrol) and Swiss Valais on rocks with Stachys recta.
In Central Europe Carcharodus lavatherae is threatened with extinction. Previously probably many habitats have been converted to vineyards, nowadays the rest habitats become overgrown with shrubs and trees (succession, afforestation). In the Southwestern Alps Carcharodus lavatherae is less threatened.
The distribution extends from Northwest Africa across Southern Europe and the southern parts of the central Alps (Valais and other inner alpine dry valleys) to the Urals. The relict occurrence in the Middle Rhine Valley has already been mentioned above.