Dark green fritillary

Dark green fritillary ©Les Binns

Dark Green Fritillary

Dark Green Fritillary ©Jim Higham

Dark green fritillary

Scientific name: Argynnis aglaja
The dark green fritillary is actually an orange butterfly with black spots. It gets its name from the dark green hue to the undersides of its hindwings. A strong flier, it can be seen on open, grassy habitats.

Species information

Statistics

Wingspan: 5.8-6.8cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

June to September

About

The dark green fritillary is a large, pale orange butterfly, with dark green undersides to the hindwings, hence its name. Adults are on the wing throughout the summer, from June to early September, but there is one generation per year. They live on chalk and limestone grassland, sand dunes and moorland, and in woodland rides, where the caterpillars feed on violets.

How to identify

The dark green fritillary is pale orange with an intricate pattern of black spots and lines on its upperside. The underside of the hindwing has a green hue and is marked with white spots or 'pearls'. The rare high brown fritillary is similar, but has an extra row of pearls on the underwing which are ringed with orange. It is also found at only a small number of sites around Morecambe Bay, Dartmoor and the Welsh border.

Distribution

Widespread, but localised and scattered across the country.

Did you know?

Adult dark green fritillary are tricky to spot as they quickly flit from flower to flower, feeding on the nectar of knapweeds and thistles. Despite its powerful flight, however, it doesn't tend to move far from its breeding grounds.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.