Nice one; very nice one!
It is certainly Argynnis paphia, and female.
And you are probably correct - Argynnis paphia paphia f. valesina (female)
I have just a slight uncertainty...
There are various subspecies, mostly outside Europe.
But in Europe there are, according to at least one source:
- A. p. paphia
- A. p. butleri Krulikovsky, 1909 Northern Europe, Central Europe
- A. p. thalassata Fruhstorfer, 1909 Southern Europe
I don't know how the distribution of those covers your part of N. Italy.
And, I don't know if f. valesina (or equivalent) is restricted to A. p. paphia. If it is, then you are 100% correct.
I mean f valesina because I saw this photo on the UK butterflies site:
And mine is really identical.
About the A. p. thalassata I'm unable to see photos around the web and there is no comment/info about it in Italy.
I sent the photo to an expert in the UK, maybe he can help us to understand better the distribution.
Thanks for your help Mike!
I'll make you know if/when I'll receive the answer.
I asked here to confirm my ID:
Thomas Neubau (Expert) confirmed it like Argynnis Paphia f. valesina
Did you ask Thomas if there are valesina-like forms of the other subspecies?, or whether those sspp. cover your location?, or if he considers those sspp. valid?
I don't think you can be sure unless you did so.
I asked to Robin Nigel Fox, friend of Thomas Neubau, another expert that live in Italy and here is the answer:
Yes, you have identified it correctly. In most colonies of the Argynnis paphia, there are some females that are not of the ordinary orangey-brown colour, but that have this lovely purple-blue colouration. The light on your example brings out the colour fantastically.
There are no other paphia forms , as far as I know. I get my information from the Collins Butterfly Guide by Tom Tolman and Richard lewington.