High Brown Fritillary

  • High Brown Fritillary (upperwing)
    High Brown Fritillary (upperwing)
  • High Brown Fritillary (underwing)
    High Brown Fritillary (underwing)
  • High Brown Fritillary (egg)
    High Brown Fritillary (egg)
  • High Brown Fritillary (caterpillar)
    High Brown Fritillary (caterpillar)
  • High Brown Fritillary (pupa)
    High Brown Fritillary (pupa)
  • Video play iconHigh Brown Fritillary (upperwing)
    High Brown Fritillary (video)
  • High Brown Fritillary (upperwing)
    High Brown Fritillary (upperwing)
  • High Brown Fritillary (underwing)
    High Brown Fritillary (underwing)
  • High Brown Fritillary (egg)
    High Brown Fritillary (egg)
  • High Brown Fritillary (caterpillar)
    High Brown Fritillary (caterpillar)
  • High Brown Fritillary (pupa)
    High Brown Fritillary (pupa)
  • High Brown Fritillary (upperwing)
    High Brown Fritillary (video)

Scientific name: Argynnis adippe

Orange and black wings and fast flight distinguish this large butterfly from most others.

This large, powerful butterfly is usually seen flying swiftly over the tops of bracken or low vegetation in woodland clearings. In flight, the males are almost impossible to separate from those of the Dark Green Fritillary, which often share the same habitats. However, both species frequently visit flowers such as thistles and Bramble where it is possible to see their distinctive underside wing markings. The Dark Green lacks the orange ringed 'pearls' on the underside of the hindwing.

The High Brown Fritillary was once widespread in England and Wales but since the 1950s has undergone a dramatic decline. It is now reduced to around 50 sites where conservationists are working to save it from extinction.

Size and Family

  • Family – Fritillaries, Duke of Burgundy
  • Large Sized 
  • Wing Span Range (male to female) - 60-67mm

Conservation status

  • Listed as a Section 41 species of principal importance under the NERC Act in England
  • Listed as a Section 42 species of principal importance under the NERC Act in Wales
  • UK BAP: Priority Species   
  • Butterfly Conservation priority: High                        
  • European status: Not threatened                    
  • Fully protected in Great Britain.

Caterpillar Foodplants

Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana) is used in all habitats, but Hairy Violet (V. hirta) is also used in limestone areas. It may occasionally use Heath Dog-violet (V. canina) and Pale Dog-violet (V. lactea).

Distribution

  • Countries – England and Wales
  • Britain's most endangered butterfly, the High Brown has undergone a massive decline and is now down to a single colony in Wales and only two remaining strongholds (the Morecambe Bay area and Dartmoor) in England.
  • Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = -79%.

Habitat

Two main habitats are used: Bracken dominated habitats or grass/Bracken mosaics and limestone rock outcrops (usually where scrub or woodland has recently been cleared or coppiced).

Factsheets

Similar species