Dark Green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja)
Male. Taken at Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon., on June 30th 2016.
(1/200th sec at f13. Approx 1.7x lifesize)
Male underside. Taken in the Brenne, France on June 24th 2010.
(1/125th sec at f13. Approx 1.7x lifesize)
Female. Taken at Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon., on June 30th 2016.
(1/400th sec at f13. Approx 1.7x lifesize)
© David Hastings
DescriptionWing span: 59 - 69 mm
This large orange and black butterfly makes an impressive sight as it glides over scrubby downland or coastal dunes.
This species is widespread and common in most of Europe, including the British Isles. There are two subspecies - aglaja occurs through the range of the species, with the exception of Ireland, Scotland (although it is found in southern Scotland), and the Isle of Man. scotica is found in Ireland, Scotland (except southern Scotland), and the Isle of Man. The female of this form is darker than normal female.
Its habitat is open grassy, flowery slopes, clearings in light woodland, damp meadows and heaths. It is most frequent on calcareous soils.
Adults generally emerge in the middle of June, reaching a peak in early July. In northern Scotland, adults emerge a little later at the end of June, reaching a peak at the end of July/early August. There is one generation each year. The larva is the overwintering stage.
The primary larval foodplants are Common Dog-violet, Hairy Violet and Marsh Violet. Adults frequent Thistles and Knapweeds.
Males make rapid gliding flights as they patrol in search of females or nectar sources. Females crawl among vegetation to lay their eggs.
This species is listed as Least Concern in the latest Red List of British Butterflies (PDF).