Melitaea athalia is a very rare resident. It used to be widespread on inland sandy soils, but at present, it is limited to a few places on the Veluwe, in the province of Gelderland. Its range has been shrinking since the beginning of the 20th century; the Dutch Monitoring Scheme indicates a steep decline in numbers during the 1990s. Categorised as 'endangered' on the Red List of 1995, it is currently listed as 'critically endangered'. The species flies in one generation from mid-June until mid-July. It occurs on woodland edges, in newly-felled woodland and clearings in coppice. Its most important larval foodplant Melampyrum pratense occurs in an early succession stage of woodland vegetation. After a few years, the habitat becomes overgrown, and the butterflies have to search for a new one. Due to the low mobility of the species, it is important that suitable habitat is in the vicinity. Regular coppicing is an appropriate measure.
Wynhoff, I., Swaay, C. van, Groenendijk, D., Bosveld, M., Bos, F.
- Bos, F., M. Bosveld, D. Groenendijk, C. van Swaay & I. Wynhoff 2006. De dagvlinders van Nederland, verspreiding en bescherming. Nederlandse Fauna 7. De Vlinderstichting, Wageningen en Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum Naturalis, European Invertebrate Survey, Nederland.