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water beetles and whirligig beetles
elk fly

Butterflies of the north

Temperature factors regulate quite strongly the distribution of butterflies so that the species is visibly more substantial in the warm south than in the north. Slightly over half of the butterflies (64 species; there are 114 species in the whole of Finland) in Finland have been found in Lapland. Of course there are species that have adapted to the north. There are even species that survive only in nearly arctic conditions. In our butterflies, there are e.g. 11 species of butterflies that are found only in Lapland. There are also three of those species that have been found just outside Lapland in Northern Ostrobothnia or in Koillismaa. Nevertheless, several of the species that are met with in Lapland, are rare, and even under supervision according to the categorisation of endangered species.

Migratory butterflies hardly come all the way to Lapland. Only large white (Pieris brassicae) and small white (Pieris rapae) are fairly common. In addition, painted lady (Vanessa cardui) may be met with in Lapland when mass emigration of the species takes place. Only admiral (Vanessa atalanta) and comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album) of colourful migrants have been found a few times north from Oulu. Pictures: peacock and admiral!

Another difference is in the number of generations. The species that appear in the south have two generations during a year whereas those who appear in the north have only one generation due to the shortness of summer in Lapland. One of these species is e.g. green-veined white (Pieris napi).

Even the butterflies that have spread to the north, become more rarer the closer to the north they are. Therefore, green hairstreak (Callophrys rubi) that is quite common in the latitude of Oulu, is only a few in number or irregular in Lapland. Furthermore, the greatest occurrences of the familiar small tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) remain south of the line of Ylitornio-Kuhmo.

.Clossiana-genus (nine species) from fritillaries could be mentioned as an example. Two species of this genus are common all over Finland (C. selene and C. euphrosyne); the focal point of two others is in the north (C frigga and C. freija); four species are found only in the north of Lapland (C. thore, C. polaris, C. chariclea and C. improba); there is only one southern species that is at the same time very rare (C. titania).

Correspondingly, in Erebia-genus only one species is found more frequently in the south (E. ligea). Other four species are met with in the most northern parts of Finland, or as (E. embla), which occurs more frequently in the north, is met with in Southern Finland, although it appears there in a clearly regenerated form.

A list of the butterflies that are found only in Lapland:

Pyrgus andromedae
Colias hecla
C. nastes
Agriades glandon
Boloria napaea
C. polaris
C. improba
C. chariclea
Hypodryas iduna
Erebia medusa
Oeneis bore

To the south of Lapland, there are only individual stray finds of the three other species:

-the preserved southern nominal species of Clossiana thore has been met with only in Northern Karelia but the northern subspecies can be found even in great numbers in some places in the most northern parts of Finland.
-Erebia disa has been found also in Rovaniemi and Koillismaa,
-and along with the two aforementioned places Oeneis norma has been found also at the bottom of the northern parts of the Gulf of Bothnia.

Above: There are not many butterflies common in the Southern Finland that have dispersed to northern Finland, too.
This copperfly (Heodes virgaureae) can meet until the northern shores of Gulf of Bothnia, but not in real Lapland.
This copperfly love European goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) - gold and copper both! But goldenrod is common
in the whole Lapland...

Butterflies ends now!

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