Glanville Fritillary - Melitaea cinxia

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Lepidoptera - Family: Nymphalidae

Glanville Fritillary, Melitaea cinxia, underwing view

In the 1690s the first British record of capture of this butterfly, in Lincolnshire, was made by lepidopterist Lady Eleanor Glanville, who is now honoured in the common name of this species.

Glanville Fritillary, Melitaea cinxia, Bulgaria


Nowaday in Britain the Glanville Fritillary is restricted to a few sites near the Hampshire-Dorset border, on the isle of Wight, and in the Channel Isles. (What are considered to have been illegal introductions to a few locations in southern England have been responsible for other sightings in recent years.) On mainland Europe the Glanville Fritillary is common in many countries from southern Scandinavia down to the Mediterranean including northern Spain, France, Germany, Holland, Austria, Italy and the Balkans and eastwards into Asia.

Glanville Fritillary, Melitaea cinxia, central France


This species is usually found most often in flower-rich grasslands including meadows, hillsides and coastal cliffs, but Glanville Fritillary is also seen in scrubland, on woodland edges, and along hedgerows and the margins of cultivated fields.

Glanville Fritillary, Melitaea cinxia, southern France


The primary larval foodplant of Glanville Fritillary is Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata and other plantain species; it is also reported to use Spiked Speedwell Veronica spicata. In Britain the single brood of adults can usually be seen in flight from early May through to early July.

In northern Spain and southern France, where this is a very common species, the adults are usually on the wing from late April to June with a second brood flying in August and September. These butterflies take nectar from a wide range of wildflowers including (as below) various Cistus species.

Glanville Fritillary, Melitaea cinxia, on cistus

Most of the specimens shown on this page were photographed in central and southern France and in northern Italy.


This page includes pictures kindly contributed Betty and Tony Rackham.

Studying butterflies and moths...

Excited at the prospect of flyfishing? So are we, and we're pretty sure you would find the Winding River Mystery trilogy of action-packed thrillers gripping reading too. Dead Drift, Dead Cert, and Dead End are Pat O'Reilly's latest river-and-flyfishing based novels, and now they are available in ebook format. Full details on our website here...

Buy each book for just £4.96 on Amazon...

Please Help Us: If you have found this information interesting and useful, please consider helping to keep First Nature online by making a small donation towards the web hosting and internet costs.

Any donations over and above the essential running costs will help support the conservation work of Plantlife, the Rivers Trust and charitable botanic gardens - as do author royalties and publisher proceeds from books by Pat and Sue.

© 1995 - 2024 First Nature: a not-for-profit volunteer-run resource

Please help to keep this free resource online...

Terms of use - Privacy policy - Disable cookies - Links policy