Pearl-bordered Fritillary

  • Pearl-bordered Fritillary (upperwing)
    Pearl-bordered Fritillary (upperwing)
  • Pearl-bordered Fritillary (underwing)
    Pearl-bordered Fritillary (underwing)
  • Pearl-bordered Fritillary (egg)
    Pearl-bordered Fritillary (egg)
  • Pearl-bordered Fritillary (caterpillar)
    Pearl-bordered Fritillary (caterpillar)
  • Video play iconPearl-bordered Fritillary (upperwing)
    Pearl-bordered Fritillary (video)
  • Pearl-bordered Fritillary (upperwing)
    Pearl-bordered Fritillary (upperwing)
  • Pearl-bordered Fritillary (underwing)
    Pearl-bordered Fritillary (underwing)
  • Pearl-bordered Fritillary (egg)
    Pearl-bordered Fritillary (egg)
  • Pearl-bordered Fritillary (caterpillar)
    Pearl-bordered Fritillary (caterpillar)
  • Pearl-bordered Fritillary (upperwing)
    Pearl-bordered Fritillary (video)

Scientific name: Boloria euphrosyne

Easily confused with the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, which often flies in the same habitats and at the same time of year.

This is one of the earliest fritillaries to emerge and can be found as early as April in woodland clearings or rough hillsides with bracken.

It flies close to the ground, stopping regularly to feed on spring flowers such as Bugle. It can be distinguished from the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary by the two large silver 'pearls' and row of seven outer 'pearls' on the underside hind wing, and also the red (as opposed to black) chevrons around the outer pearls and the small central spot on the hind wing.

The butterfly was once very widespread but has declined rapidly in recent decades, and is now highly threatened in England and Wales.

Size and Family

  • Family – Fritillaries, Duke of Burgundy
  • Medium Sized 
  • Wing Span Range (male to female) – 44-47mm

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
  • Protected under the Nature Conservation Act in Scotland
  • UK BAP: Priority Species    
  • Butterfly Conservation priority: High                        
  • European status: Not threatened             
  • Protected In Great Britain for sale only

Caterpillar Foodplants

The most widely used foodplant is Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana) although it can use other violets such as Heath Dog-Violet (V. canina) and in the north, Marsh Violet (V. palustris).

Distribution

  • Countries – England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
  • Once very widespread across Britain, the Pearl-bordered Fritillary remains widespread only in the northern half of Scotland, south Cumbria, Devon and Cornwall, and the woodlands of South East England.
  • Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = Britain: -61%

Habitat

Three main habitats are used: woodland clearings, usually in recently coppiced or clear-felled woodland; well-drained habitats with mosaics of grass, dense bracken and light scub and open deciduous wood pasture in Scotland.  

In all habitats it requires abundant foodplants growing in short, sparse vegetation, where there is abundant leaf litter.

Factsheets

Similar species