Carcharodus lavatherae (Esper, [1783])

(Marbled skipper)

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Original description

Papilio (Pleb. Urb.) Lavatherae“ Esper, E. J. C., [1783]: Die Schmetterlinge in Abbildungen nach der Natur ... 1 (2): 148; Taf. 82, Fig. 4 (Weibchen). Locus typicus: „France and .. Switzerland“.


The brightest coloured species of the genus. Colour of upper side grey-brown with large white hyaline spots. Fresh butterflies look greenish when on the wing. Male without hair tuft on forewing underside. Underside of hindwings almost white.


(Female genitalia to follow)


Several subspecies have been described. Of special interest is ssp. tauricus which is distributed from Greece eastwards.


From the Iberian Peninsula throuth Southern Europe to Iran. The northern boundary of the distribution crosses the Alps. An isolated population in the Middle Rhine Valley (might be extinct). In Northern Africa the species can be found in Morocco and Algeria.

Flight time

In Central Europe a single generation from June to August. In South Tyrolia a second generation has been reported. The half grown caterpillar hibernates.

Ecology and habitats

Dry, warm and often rocky habitats.


Lamiaceae: Stachys recta in Central Europe.

Important literature and internet links

Lepiforum (German)

Eurobutterflies (Matt Rowlings)

Guy Padfield‘s European Butterfly Page

Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa (Paolo Mazzei et al.)

Les Carnets du Lépidoptériste Français

Butterflies of France (Roger Gibbons)

Carcharodus on

Homepage of Wolfgang Wagner (Heiner Ziegler)

Tree of life

Lepidoptera of Ukraine (Vladimir V. Savchuk) (Ukrainian)

„Alexanor“, Ukrainian Butterflies (S. G. Popov)

Butterflies of Turkey

Butterflies of Dagestan (V. Tikhonov)

Homepage of Michel Zepf

Fleeting Wonders (Philippe Bricaire)

Lepidoptera of Crimea

(Literature to follow)

Male (Switzerland/Valais, July 2007)

Egg in flower of Stachys recta
(Switzerland/Valais, Leuk, 2007)

Larval shelter
(Switzerland/Valais, Leuk, 2007)

Forth instar (studio photograph)
(Switzerland/Bern, Bolligen, 2008)

Pupa (studia photograph)
(Switzerland/Bern, Bolligen, 2008)

Habitat (Switzerland/Valais, 2007)

Figure from the original description (Esper 1783)

C. lavatherae male
Schweiz, Leuk, e.o. 21. 06. 2008

C. lavatherae male
Switzerland, Leuk, e.o. 21. 06. 2008

C. lavatherae female
Switzerland, Leuk, e.o. 6. 07. 2007

C. lavatherae male
Switzerland, Leuk, e.o. 21. 06. 2008

C. lavatherae female
Switzerland, Leuk, e.o. 6. 07. 2007

Host plant Stachys recta
(Switzerland/Valais, 2008)

C. lavatherae Männchen
July 1983

C. lavatherae Valve
July 1983