The Marsh Fritillary is threatened, not only in the UK but across Europe, and is, therefore, the object of much conservation effort.

The wings of this beautiful butterfly are more brightly patterned than those of other fritillaries, with more heavily marked races being found in Scotland and Ireland. The larvae spin conspicuous webs that can easily be recorded in late summer.

The Marsh Fritillary was once widespread in Britain and Ireland but has declined severely over the twentieth century. The Marsh Fritillary populations are highly volatile and the species requires extensive habitats or habitat networks for its long term survival. It is found in western Scotland centred on the Argyll area.

Size and Family

  • Family: Fritillaries
  • Size: Medium
  • Wing Span Range (male to female) - 42-48mm

Caterpillar Foodplants

The main foodplant is Devil's-bit-Scabious (Succisa pratensis). On calcareous grassland, it occasionally uses Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis) and Small Scabious (Scabiosa columbaria).



There are three main habitat types: damp grasslands dominated by tussock forming grasses and chalk grasslands (usually on the west or south-facing slopes in England) and shorter coastal grasslands (in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland).  Temporary colonies may also exist in large (>1 ha) woodland clearings and in other grasslands.