The Araschnia levana, also known as the Map butterfly, is a butterfly species that is native to Europe and Asia. 

Here are some characteristics of the Araschnia levana butterfly:

  • Physical characteristics: The Araschnia levana is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of 40-50 mm. The wings are typically orange or brown in color, with distinctive “maps” or patterns on the hindwings. The underside of the wings is typically mottled with brown and white, providing camouflage among leaves and branches.
  • Preferred habitat: The Araschnia levana is found in a variety of habitats, including forests, fields, and gardens. It is particularly common in wooded areas and along streams and rivers.
  • Temperature and humidity: The Araschnia levana is most active in warm, humid conditions. It prefers temperatures ranging from 20-30°C and relative humidity levels of around 70%.
  • Host plants: The Araschnia levana lays its eggs on a variety of host plants, including nettles (Urtica dioica), elms (Ulmus spp.), and willows (Salix spp.).
  • Nektar plants: The Araschnia levana feeds on the nectar of a variety of flowering plants, including thistles, clovers, and dandelions.
  • Life cycle: The life cycle of the Araschnia levana consists of four stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), and adult butterfly. At a constant temperature of 24°C, the duration of each stage is as follows:

Egg: The eggs of the Araschnia levana hatch after about 7-10 days.

Larva (caterpillar): The larval stage lasts for about 3-4 weeks. The caterpillars of the Araschnia levana typically molt (shed their skin) 5 times as they grow.

Pupa (chrysalis): The pupal stage lasts for about 2-3 weeks. The pupa of the Araschnia levana is typically green or brown in color and is well-camouflaged among leaves and plants.

Adult butterfly: The adult butterfly stage lasts for about 2-4 weeks.

Overwintering: The Araschnia levana overwinters as a pupa, typically emerging as an adult butterfly in the spring. In colder climates, the Araschnia levana may also overwinter as an adult, seeking shelter in hollow trees or other protected areas.

Egg-laying: The Araschnia levana lays its eggs singly on the underside of host plant leaves.

Breeding at home: To breed Araschnia levana butterflies at home, you will need to provide the following:

  • A suitable habitat: Create a space that is warm, sunny, and humid. The habitat should have a variety of host plants for the Araschnia levana to lay its eggs on, as well as nectar plants for the adult butterflies to feed on.
  • Host plants: Provide a variety of host plants for the Araschnia levana to lay its eggs on, such as nettles, elms, and willows.
  • Nektar plants: Plant a variety of flowering plants that will provide nectar for the adult butterflies to feed on, such as thistles, clovers, and dandelions.
  • Temperature and humidity: Keep the habitat warm and humid by providing a heat source and using a humidifier.
  • Breeding containers: Set up breeding containers for the caterpillars and pupae, such as small plastic containers or mesh cages.
  • Monitoring and care: Monitor the development of the eggs, caterpillars, pupae, and adult butterflies and provide proper care as needed. This may include providing fresh host plants for the caterpillars to feed on, maintaining the temperature and humidity of the habitat, and releasing the adult butterflies when they are ready.

By providing a suitable habitat and proper care, you can successfully breed Araschnia levana butterflies at home. It is important to note that breeding butterflies requires a significant amount of time, effort, and attention to detail, and it is not a task that is suitable for everyone. However, for those who are dedicated and passionate about butterflies, breeding them can be a rewarding and educational experience.

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