Belongs to: fritillaries

Silver-washed fritillary Argynnis paphia

Best time to see: early Jul to early Sep

Key facts

Largest of the fritillaries, often seen around sunny woodland glades

Habitat: large open woodlands with plenty of the main foodplant, dog violet

Locally common in southern England, the Midlands and Wales, and has spread east into Essex in recent years


Male upperside bright orange with black spots and lines, female darker; under hindwing is greenish with silver streaks

Roost and feed on honeydew high in trees, coming down on sunny days to feed on bramble and other flowers

Spectacular courtship flight with the female flying along woodland rides with the male looping around her


Female lays eggs on tree trunks near to colonies of dog violets

Caterpillar, velvety brown with twin yellow stripes, hibernates on the tree and descends to feed on violets in spring

Caterpillars pupate in June and adults emerge from the chrysalis in July and August

  • wings open
  • underside

© Danny Chapman

© Charles J Sharp