Silver Washed Fritillary

Silver-Washed Fritillary -

The Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) is a European species of butterfly, which was in decline for much of the 1970s and 1980s but seems to be coming back to many of its old territories.

About The ButterflyEdit

The Silver-washed fritillary butterfly is deep orange with black spots on the upper side of its wings and has a wingspan of 54–70 mm, with the male being smaller and paler than the female. The underside is green and unlike other fritillaries has silver streaks instead of silver spots, hence the name silver-washed. The caterpillar is black-brown with two yellow lines along its back and long reddish-brown spines. Adults feed on the nectar of bramble, thistles

woodland especially oaks but has been known to live in coniferous woodland.

The male possesses scent scales on the upper side of the forewing that run along veins one to four. The scent produced from these scales attracts females and helps to distinguish it from other species. Unusually for a butterfly, the female does not lay her eggs on the leaves or stem of the caterpillar's food source (in this case violets) but instead one or two meters above the woodland floor in the crevices of tree bark close to clumps of violets.

When the egg hatches in August, the caterpiller immediately goes into hibernation until spring. Upon awakening it will drop to the ground and feeds on violets close to the base of the tree. The caterpillar usually feeds at night and usually conceals itself during the day away from its food source but during cool weather will bask in the sunny spots on the forest floor on dry, dead leaves . It will make its chysalis amongst the ground vegetation and the adults will emerge in June.

The Habitat Of The ButterflyEdit

Wooded areas are very important to butterflies. Some large coniferous forests can be very dark and little use for sun loving species. Forest rides and large tracks cut through woodland can be an excellent place to see many species. You may find skippers and browns along the banks, their food plants will grow there. Some fritillaries love to patrol up and down these areas, settling occasionally to nectar on Bramble and other blossom. Whites like the Wood white Leptidea sinapis and the Brimstone Gonepteryz rhamniare most happy in woodland. Some of the beautiful Nymphalidae are also forest dwellers, the White admiral Limwnitis camilla and Purple emperor Apatura iris are good examples. Indeed the latter two species actually need the trees as their food plant, the Purple emperor using Sallow and the White admiral using Honeysuckle

The Foodplants Of This ButterflyEdit

The main foodplant is Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana) growing in shady or semi-shady positions on the woodland floor.


Decline and slight re-expansion of range.

The swooping flight of this large and graceful butterfly is one of the most beautiful sights to be found in woodland during high summer. It is named after the silver streaks on the underside which can be viewed as it stops to feed on flowers such as Bramble.

Although the butterfly is seen mostly in sunny glades and rides, it actually breeds in the shadier parts of adjacent woodland. In southern England, a small proportion of females have wings that are bronze-green, known as the form valezina.

The Silver-washed Fritillary declined during the twentieth century, especially in England and Wales, but has spread noticeably during recent decades.


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Silver washed fritillary

Silver washed fritillary by Richard Claxton -

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