Duke of Burgundy - Herts & Middx Butterfly Conservation
Duke of Burgundy (m) 2022 - Peter Clarke Duke of Burgundy (f) 2004 - Andrew Palmer

Duke of Burgundy

Hamearis lucina

UK status

Rare and restricted

Duke of Burgundy branch distribution

Distribution and Status

There has been occasional sightings of the Duke of Burgundy in and around Aldbury Nowers but there does not appear to be any evidence of any breeding at the site although 2021 saw reports of sightings on four separate occasions suggesting a possibility of a colony being present. However, only one report was received in 2022. In the distant past the butterfly, although always apparently rare in Hertfordshire, was also seen in woodland rides where primroses grew. This species has never knowingly been reported in Middlesex.

Habitat Requirements

Chalk grasslands more especially on north- and west-facing slopes and sunny woodland clearings with cowslips or primroses Primula sp. present. The level of grazing on grasslands is important. A tall tussocky sward is required for the foodplant to grow in sheltered conditions achieved by some selective grazing and rotational scrub clearance. Over-grazing on the other hand will not provide the right conditions for the foodplant to thrive and hence the survival of the butterfly.

Larval Foodplants

Cowslip Primula veris, Primrose Primula vulgaris

Adult Food Sources

Bugle Ajuga reptans, Meadow Buttercup Ranunculus acris, Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna

Behaviour/Observation notes

Males are the easier sex to observe as they are highly territorial and active on sunny, scrubby areas. Females are mostly sedentary and spend most of their time close to the ground, often in search of the larval foodplants. Mid-morning is the best time to find a mating pair immediately after the females emerge.

Duke of Burgundy branch phenology

Life History

The Duke of Burgundy produces one generation a year with adults first emerging in late April and the flight season extending into early June. The eggs are laid singly or batches of two to five, on the underside of a leaf on the foodplant. Eggs hatch in 1-3 weeks with larvae feeding overnight on the leaves of the foodplant. After about seven weeks, the now very hairy larva will pupate close to the ground in grass tussocks and this is the stage which the butterfly overwinters

Further information

Photo gallery
Branch Annual Report (2022)
UK distribution map
Full list of larval hostplants (Riodinidae)


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