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Butterfly taxonomy (classification) The skippers The swallowtails The whites The hairstreaks, coppers and blues. Includes the Duke of Burgundy. The nymphalids, fritillaries and browns. Includes the Monarch.
Silver-washed Fritillary male - Southwater, Sussex 23-June-2010
Wingspan
Male: 69 - 76mm
Female: 73 - 80mm
Photo © Neil Hulme
Silver-washed Fritillary

Argynnis paphia
Number: 59.017
B&F No.: 1608
Family:Nymphalidae (Swainson, 1827)
Subfamily:Heliconiinae (Swainson, 1827)
Tribe:Argynnini (Duponchel, 1835)
Genus:Argynnis (Fabricius, 1807)
Subgenus:Argynnis (Fabricius, 1807)
Species:paphia (Linnaeus, 1758)
Subspecies: paphia (Linnaeus, 1758)
Form:paphia (Linnaeus, 1758)
 valesina (Esper, 1800)
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  Introduction  

This butterfly is our largest fritillary and gets its name from the beautiful streaks of silver found on the underside of the wings. The bright orange male is quite distinctive as it flies powerfully along woodland rides, pausing only briefly to feed or investigate anything with an orange hue that could be a potential mate. The male has four distinctive black veins on its forewings that contain special “androconial” scales that are used in courtship. These veins are known as “sex brands”. The female is paler than the male, has rounder wings and more-prominent spots. In England and Wales, the Silver-washed Fritillary is found in woodlands south of a line between Montgomeryshire in the west and East Kent in the east, with a few scattered colonies elsewhere, including those in Westmorland and West Lancashire. This species is also widely distributed in Ireland, but is absent from Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Argynnis paphia ssp. paphia f. paphia

This species was first defined in Linnaeus (1758) as shown here (type locality: Sweden). The nominate form is found throughout the range of this species.


Silver-washed Fritillary male - Southwater, Sussex 23-June-2012
Male
Photo © Neil Hulme
Silver-washed Fritillary, Male, The Straits, 09/07/2013
Male Underside
Photo © Pauline
Silver-washed-Fritillary-Bentley Wood 17 July 2010 03C9894
Female
Photo © IainLeach
Silver-washed Fritillary, Female, The Straits, 09/07/2013
Female Underside
Photo © Pauline

Argynnis paphia ssp. paphia f. valesina

This form was first defined in Esper (1800) as shown here and as shown in this plate. This spectacular form occurs in a small percentage of females, primarily in the larger colonies in the south of England, where the orange-brown colouring is replaced with a deep olive-green. The legendary lepidopterist, Frederick William Frohawk, was so taken with this form, that he named his only daughter after it. This form is quite distinctive in flight, looking like an overgrown Ringlet, and has the common name of the “Greenish Silver-washed Fritillary”.


Male
Male Underside
Silver-Washed Fritillary - imago - Provence - 16-Jun-06 [David Newland]
Female
Photo © David Newland
Silver-washed fritillary valezina(?) Arda Valley Bulgaria 17/6/13
Female Underside
Photo © jamesweightman

  Phenology  

There is a single generation each year, with the butterfly on the wing from late June to the end of August.

Argynnis paphia ssp. paphia f. paphia


The chart(s) above have been correlated with the phenology plot below, taken from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. The blue line gives average counts over the full data set from 1976 to date, and the red line gives the average for the last year.


  Habitat  

This butterfly is most-commonly found in woodland where the larval foodplant, Common Dog-violet, grows on the woodland floor. The butterfly can also be found flying along lanes and more-open countryside in some areas. Both deciduous and coniferous woodland is used – the presence of this butterfly is only limited by the presence of nectar sources and larval foodplant.

  Larval Foodplants  

The primary larval foodplant is Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana).

  Nectar Sources  

Adults feed primarily on Bramble (Rubus fruticosus). Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica), Knapweeds (Centaurea spp.), Privet (Ligustrum vulgare), Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), Thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.) and Water Mint (Mentha aquatica) are also used.

  Imago  

The adults spend much of their time in the woodland canopy where they feed on aphid honeydew. However, they often descend to nectar on Bramble blossom and Thistle flowers – two of their favourite nectar sources.

The courtship flight of this butterfly is one of the most spectacular of all the British species. The female flies in a straight line while the male continuously loops under, in front and then over the top of the female. With the courtship flight over, the pair lands on a convenient platform where the male showers the female in scent scales. The male then draws the female’s antennae over the sex brand and mating subsequently takes place.

Argynnis paphia ssp. paphia f. paphia


Silver Washed Fritillary Male - Botany Bay/Oaken Wood, Sussex 28-June-09
Photo © Vince Massimo
28-Jun-2009
Silver Washed Fritillary Female - Botany Bay/Oaken Wood, Sussex 8-July-08
Photo © Vince Massimo
08-Jul-2008
Silver-washed Frtillary - Bentley Wood - 22-6-08
Photo © Gwenhwyfar
22-Jun-2008
Silver-Washed Fritillary - imago - Bentley Wood - 09-Jul-04
Photo © Pete Eeles
09-Jul-2004
Silver-Washed Fritillary - imago - Bentley Wood - 29-Jun-05
Photo © Pete Eeles
29-Jun-2005
Silver-Washed Fritillary - imago - Pamber Forest - 29-Jun-04
Photo © Pete Eeles
29-Jun-2004
silver washed fritillary male, wootton coppice 09
Photo © geniculata
silver washed fritillary, female wootton coppice 09
Photo © geniculata
15-Jul-2009
Silver-washed Fritillary, Southwater Woods, 26 June 2008
Photo © Neil Hulme
26-Jun-2008
Silver-washed Fritillary - Bentley Wood - 26 June 2010 (1)
Photo © Clive
26-Jun-2010
Silver-washed Fritillary (mating pair) Botany Bay, Surrey 1st July 2010
Photo © millerd
Silver-washed Fritillary - imago - Pamber Forest - 01-Jul-10 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
01-Jul-2010
Silver-washed Fritillary - imago - Pamber Forest - 01-Jul-10 (2)
Photo © Pete Eeles
01-Jul-2010
Silver-washed Fritillary - male - Stourhead 26-07-2013
Photo © Wurzel
26-Jul-2013
Silver-Washed Fritillary - imago - Pamber Forest - 26-Jun-11 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
Silver-washed-Fritillary-Bentley Wood 17 July 2010 I9T2186
Photo © IainLeach
Silver-washed-Fritillary-Bentley Wood 17 July 2010 I9T1283
Photo © IainLeach
Silver-washed-Fritillary-Bentley Wood 17 July 2010 I9T1107
Photo © IainLeach
Silver-washed-Fritillary-Bentley Wood 17 July 2010 03C9894
Photo © IainLeach
Silver-washed-Fritillary-Bentley Wood 17 July 2010 03C6817
Photo © IainLeach
Silver-washed-Fritillary-Bentley Wood 17 July 2010 03C0411
Photo © IainLeach
Silver-washed Fritillary (m) Black Park (Strawberry Wood) Bucks 5th July 2012
Photo © millerd
05-Jul-2012
SWF, Male, The Straits, 23/07/2012
Photo © Pauline
23-Jul-2012
Silver-washed Fritillary female - Snitterfield Bushes Warwickshire 21.07.2012
Photo © nfreem
21-Jul-2012
Silver-washed Fritillary (male), Surrey (23 July 2012)
Photo © Mark Colvin
23-Jul-2012
Silver-washed Fritillary pair - Southwater, Sussex 24-June-2010
Photo © Neil Hulme
24-Jun-2010
Silver-washed Fritillary males - Southwater, Sussex 19-June-2011
Photo © Neil Hulme
18-Jun-2011
Silver-washed Fritillary male - Southwater, Sussex 23-June-2012
Photo © Neil Hulme
23-Jun-2012
Silver-washed Fritillary male - Southwater, Sussex 23-June-2010
Photo © Neil Hulme
23-Jun-2010
Silver-washed Fritillary, Female, The Straits, 09/07/2013
Photo © Pauline
09-Jul-2013
Silver-washed Fritillary, Male, The Straits, 09/07/2013
Photo © Pauline
09-Jul-2013
Silver Washed Fritillary - Bentley Wood - 21-07-2013
Photo © Wurzel
21-Jul-2013
Silver-washed Fritillary - Bedford Purlieus - 24.06.2011
Photo © PhiliB
24-Jun-2011
Silver-washed Fritillary - Male - Bedford Purlieus - 20.06.2011
Photo © PhiliB
20-Jun-2011
Silver-washed Fritillary - Female - Bedford Purlieus - 28.07.2013
Photo © PhiliB
28-Jul-2013
Silver-washed Fritillary female,Hatfield Forest,Essex.24 July 2013
Photo © essexbuzzard
24-Jul-2013

Argynnis paphia ssp. paphia f. valesina


silver washed fritillary, form valesina mating 08.
Photo © geniculata
05-Jul-2008
Silver-Washed Fritillary - imago - Bentley Wood - 11-Jul-06 (2) [Tony Wootton]
Photo © Tony Wootton
Silver-Washed Fritillary - imago - Bentley Wood - 11-Jul-06 [Tony Wootton]
Photo © Tony Wootton
Silver-Washed Fritillary - imago - Farley Mount, Hants - Unknown date [Adrian Riley]
Photo © Adrian Riley
Silver-Washed Fritillary - imago - Inwood, nr Bath - 08-Jul-06 [Simon Crampin]
Photo © Simon Crampin
Silver-Washed Fritillary - imago - Provence - 16-Jun-06 [David Newland]
Photo © David Newland
form valesina in wooton coppice inclosure new forest 06
Photo © geniculata
08-Jul-2006
form valesina mating, wootton coppice 08
Photo © geniculata
05-Jul-2008
form valesina, wootton coppice inclosure 09
Photo © geniculata
15-Jul-2009
form valesina, wootton coppice inclosure  08
Photo © geniculata
form valesina, wootton coppice inclosure   09
Photo © geniculata
15-Jul-2009
Silver-Washed Fritillary - form - Grovely Woods, Wiltshire - 05-Jul-09 [Jules Cross]
Photo © Jules Cross
05-Jul-2009
silver washed fritillary, form valesina mating 08
Photo © geniculata
Silver-washed Fritillary  f. valesina
Photo © Gruditch
06-Jul-2008
Silver-washed Fritillary - imago - Pamber Forest - 05-Jul-10 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
05-Jul-2010
Silver-washed Fritillary - imago - Pamber Forest - 05-Jul-10 (6)
Photo © Pete Eeles
05-Jul-2010
Silver-washed Fritillary (f. valesina) - Alpes-Maritimes - 16 June 2012
Photo © CFB
16-Jun-2012
f. valezina
Photo © Neil Hulme
28-Jun-2010
Silver Washed Fritillary f. valesina - Snitterfield Bushes 02.07.2011-104
Photo © nfreem
02-Jul-2011
Silver-washed Fritillary - form [Mick Langy]
Photo © Mick Langy
Silver-washed Fritillary f. valesina ovipositing, Southwater Woods, West Sussex, 22 July 2013
Photo © Colin Knight
22-Jul-2013
Silver-washed fritillary valezina(?) Arda Valley Bulgaria 17/6/13
Photo © jamesweightman
17-Jun-2013

  Aberrations  

Description to be completed.

Unclassified Aberrations


Silver-washed Fritillary - ab. confluens Spuler - Bentley Wood - 12-July-2009
Photo © Gwenhwyfar
12-Jul-2009
Silver-washed Fritillary ab confluens, Bentley Wood, 12/7/2009
Photo © Gruditch
12-Jul-2009
Silver-Washed Fritillary - aberration - Pamber Forest - 02-Jul-09 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
02-Jul-2009
Silver-Washed Fritillary - aberration - Bath - 16-Jul-05 (3) [Simon Crampin]
Photo © Simon Crampin
Silver-washed Fritillary, Bentley Wood, 5/7/2009
Photo © Gruditch
05-Jul-2009
Silver-Washed Fritillary - aberration - Straits Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest - 05-Jul-09 [Colin Baker]
Photo © Colin Baker
05-Jul-2009
Silver-Washed Fritillary - aberration - Straits Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest - 05-Jul-09(2) [Colin Baker]
Photo © Colin Baker
05-Jul-2009
Silver-Washed Fritillary - aberration - Straits Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest - 05-Jul-09(3) [Colin Baker]
Photo © Colin Baker
04-Jul-2009
Silver-Washed Fritillary - ocellata aberration - Straits Inclosure - Alice Holt Forest, Hampshire - 14.7.09 [Matthew Oates]
Photo © Matthew Oates
14-Jul-2009
Silver-Washed Fritillary - ocellata aberration - Straits Inclosure - Alice Holt Forest, Hampshire - 15.9.09 [Matthew Oates]
Photo © Matthew Oates
15-Jul-2009
Silver-washed Fritillary - Bilateral gynandromorph - Southwater woods, West Sussex - 4.7.2010 [Colin Knight]
Photo © Colin Knight
bilateral gynandromorph
Silver washed fritillary bilateral gynandromorph - Southwater Woods-07/07/2010 - Susie Milbank
Photo © Susie
bilateral gynandromorph
Silver washed fritillary aberration 1 -Southwater Woods - 05/07/2010-Susie Milbank
Photo © Susie
Silver washed fritillary aberration 3 -Southwater Woods - 05/07/2010-Susie Milbank
Photo © Susie
Silver washed fritillary aberration 1 -Southwater Woods - 07/07/2010-Susie Milbank
Photo © Susie
Silver washed fritillary aberration 2 -Southwater Woods - 07/07/2010-Susie Milbank
Photo © Susie
Silver washed fritillary bilateral gynandromorph - Southwater Woods-07/07/2010 - Susie Milbank
Photo © Susie
bilateral gynandromorph
ab. confluens
Photo © Neil Hulme
07-Jul-2010
Silver Washed Fritillary Female (ab. confluens) - Southwater Wood, Sussex 5-July-10
Photo © Vince Massimo
05-Jul-2010
Silver-Washed Fritillary - aberration - Pamber Forest - 21-Jun-11 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
Silver-Washed Fritillary - aberration - Pamber Forest - 21-Jun-11 (2)
Photo © Pete Eeles
Silver-washed Fritillary - imago - Tugley Wood, Surrey - 21-Jul-2008 [Peter Farrant]
Photo © Peter Farrant
Silver-washed Fritillary female (ab.) - Alice Holt Forest - July 2010
Photo © Mike Young

  Ovum  

Egg-laying females can be seen flying over the woodland floor searching out the larval foodplant, Common Dog-violet. They will sometimes alight on the woodland floor and crawl among the vegetation to determine the suitability of the site. If a suitable location is found, then the female flies to a nearby tree trunk and lays a single egg in a chink on the tree bark and several eggs may be laid on the same tree. These are typically laid on the moss-covered north-facing side of the tree and between 1 and 2 metres from the ground. It is believed that such a location provides a suitable “microclimate” for the overwintering larva.


Silver-Washed Fritillary - ovum - Unknown location - Unknown date (2) [REARED] [Reg Fry]
Photo © Reg Fry
Silver-Washed Fritillary - ovum - Unknown location - Unknown date (3) [REARED] [Reg Fry]
Photo © Reg Fry
Silver-Washed Fritillary - ovum - Unknown location - Unknown date (4) [REARED] [Reg Fry]
Photo © Reg Fry
silver washed fritillary egg on birch trunk, wootton coppice 09
Photo © geniculata
09-Jul-2009

  Larva  

The egg hatches in around 2 weeks. The larva, having eaten part of its eggshell, immediately moves into a crevice in the bark and spins a silk pad on which it hibernates. The following spring, the larva descends the tree trunk to the woodland floor in search of its first meal of violets. Larvae feed intermittently during the day on the most-tender leaves and shoots.

The larva enjoys basking in sunlight and will wander away from the foodplant to find a suitable place to bask, such as on leaf litter. There are 4 moults in total.


Silver-Washed Fritillary - larva - Thatcham - 10-May-04 (2) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
07-May-2004
Silver-Washed Fritillary - larva - Thatcham - 10-May-04 (4) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
10-May-2004
Silver-Washed Fritillary - larva - Thatcham - 20-May-04 (4) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
20-May-2004
Silver-Washed Fritillary - larva - Thatcham - 26-May-04 [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
28-May-2004
Silver-Washed Fritillary - larva - Thatcham - 28-May-06 (0148) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
28-May-2006
Silver-Washed Fritillary - larva - Thatcham - 29-May-08 (1) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles
29-May-2008
Silver-Washed Fritillary - larva - Unknown location - Unknown date [REARED] [Reg Fry]
Photo © Reg Fry
Silver-Washed Fritillary - larva - Thatcham - 11-May-11 (13) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles

  Pupa  

The pupa is formed head down beneath a leaf, or twig of a tree or shrub, attached by the cremaster, and resembles a shrivelled leaf. This stage lasts between 2 and 3 weeks, depending on temperature.


Silver-Washed Fritillary - pupa - Thatcham - 26-May-04 (2) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
29-May-2004
Silver-Washed Fritillary - pupa - Thatcham - 26-May-04 (3) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
29-May-2004
Silver-Washed Fritillary - pupa - Thatcham - 29-May-08 (1) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles
29-May-2008
Silver-Washed Fritillary - pupa - Thatcham - 31-May-04 (2) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
31-May-2004

  Similar Species  

Dark Green Fritillary

Description to be completed.

High Brown Fritillary

Description to be completed.

Queen of Spain Fritillary

Description to be completed.

  Videos  

Video © DAVID ELEMENT
Silver washed Fritillary Argynnis paphia female form valezina feeding
Video © macclassic44
Silver Washed Fritillary
Video © Sjaak van Beek
Keizersmantel, Argynnis paphia, in de AWD

  Sites  

Click here to see the distribution of this species overlaid with specific site information. Alternatively, select one of the sites listed below.

Sites
Abbots Wood, Aldbury Nowers, Alice Holt Forest, Allt Dolanog, Alner's Gorse, Andrew's Wood, Angmering Park Estate, Armstrong Wood Nature Reserve, Ashampstead Common, Ashclyst Forest, Aston Rowant NNR, Avon Heath Country Park, Aylesbeare Common, Backside Common, Ballykeeffe Wood, Bentley Station Meadow, Bentley Wood, Bernwood Forest, Betty Daw's Wood, Binsted Wood, Black Park, Blackmoor Copse, Bookham Common, Botley Wood, Bovey Valley Woodlands, Bowdown Woods, Box Hill Woods, Brackett's Coppice, Brickles Wood, Brown's Folly, Buckland Wood, Bunny's Hill, Cabilla Woods, Carpenters Down Wood, Chaddesley Woods, Clanger Wood, Clatworthy Reservoir, Coed Allt Fedw, Coole Park, Coombe Heath, Crab Wood, Croes Robert Wood, Crook Peak, Denny Wood, Devil's Spittleful and Rifle Range, Draycott Sleights, Dromore Wood, Duncliffe Woods, Dunsdon NNR, Dunsford Meadow, Earl's Hill, East Poldens Reserves, Eastcombe Wood, Ebbor Gorge, Ebernoe Common and Butcherland, Feystown, Fifehead Wood, Fontmell Down, Friary Wood, Garston Wood, Gelli-hir Wood, Glenarm, Glenarm Forest, Great Torrington Commons, Green Lane Wood, Greenscombe Woods, Grovely Wood, Haldon Butterfly Walk, Haldon Woods, Haugh Wood, Hayes Farm, Heddon Valley, Hembury Woods, Hethfelton Wood, Hod Hill, Holway Woods, Homefield Wood, Hookheath Meadows, Ketton Quarry, Kingbog, Kingcombe Meadows, Kingcombe Redholm, Kingcombe Stones, Lake Vyrnwy, Langford Heathfield, Latton Woods, Laughton Common Wood, Lea and Pagets Wood, Leigh Woods, Little Breach, Lord's Wood, Lough Bunny, Lower Woods, Lydlinch Common, Lyme Regis Undercliff, Mansmead wood, Marks Hall Estate, Monk Wood, Moor Copse, Moors Valley Country Park, Morgaston Wood, Mount Fancy Reserve, Nagshead, New Bridge, Noar Hill, Norbury Park, Nupend Wood, Oaken Wood, Oxwich, Pamber Forest, Park Corner Heath, Pembrey Country Park, Pentaloe Glen, Piddles Wood, Plymbridge Woods, Pondhead Inclosure, Powerstock Common, Pulborough Brooks (RSPB), Quoditch Moor Nature Reserve, Ranmore Woods, Roudsea Wood NNR, Rowland Wood, Ryton Woods Meadows, Shapwick Heath, Shutts Copse, Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Somerford Common, Southwater Woods, Sovell Down, St Leonards Forest, Standing Hat, Stockbridge Down, Strawberry Banks, Stubhampton Bottom, Tadnoll, The Knapp and Papermill, Thurlbear Quarrylands, Tickenham Ridge, Tring Park, Tucking Mill, Tudeley Woods RSPB Reserve, Ubley Warren, Vann lake, Wallis Wood, Walters Copse, Warburg Reserve, Warnham LNR, Watersmeet, Wendover Woods, West Down, West Williamston Salt Marshes, West Yatton Down, Whitbarrow Scar, White Hill Reserve, White Rocks, Whiteford Burrows, Whiteley Pastures, Witch Lodge Fields, Woodside, Wyre Forest, Ynys-Hir

  Conservation Status  

The status of the Silver-washed Fritillary in the British Isles is relatively-stable when compared with other species. However, this delightful woodland fritillary is still a species of conservation concern.

UK BAP StatusDistribution TrendPopulation Trend
Species of Conservation ConcernIncreaseIncrease

From The State of Butterflies in Britain and Ireland and the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) (2007 review).


  Links  

The following links provide additional information on this butterfly.

  References  

The species description provided here references the following publications:

ReferenceDetails
Esper (1800) Esper, E.J.C.: Die Schmetterlinge in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen. 1800.
Linnaeus (1758) Linnaeus, C.: Systema Naturae. Edn.10. 1758.

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