The Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary has a wingspan of 35 to 44mm, the females on average rather larger than the males. The common name refers to a pettern of pearly-white spots on the border of the underside of the wings. The only slightly larger Pearl-bordered Fritillary Boloria euphrosyne differs in having two additional large pearl spots on the undersides of its wings.
In Britain the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary is found in Wales, western England and Scotland, but it is very rarely seen in eastern England and is not recorded in Ireland. Elsewhere, this butterfly is known to occur in much of mainland Europe, parts of northern Africa and Asia as well as North America.
Adult Pearl-bordered Fritillaries feed on Bugle Ajuga reptans, Ragged Robin Silene flos-cuculi, brambles and thistles. The adults mate and the females lay eggs in mid to late spring, always on or very near to violets (Viola spp.), which are the larval food plants. On woodland edges are other dryish sites, Dog Violets Viola riviniana are often selected. The caterpillars feed during summer and autumn before hibernating, waking and continuing to feed in early spring before pupating for two or three weeks and then ecloding (emerging from the crysalis) as winged adults.
This page includes pictures kindly contributed by the Countryside Council for Wales.
If you found this information helpful, you would probably find the new 2017 edition of our bestselling book Matching the Hatch by Pat O'Reilly very useful. Order your copy here...