The Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary has a wingspan of 35 to 44mm, the males (example above) are on average rather smaller than the females (see example below).
The common name refers to a pattern 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. A further aid to separating these two species is the fact that the line of white rectangles on the underwings of the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary has much more white on it than is the case with the Pearl-bordered Fritillary.
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 Betty and Tony Rackham and by the Countryside Council for Wales.
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