Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia)

Male. Taken at Bernwood Forest, Bucks, on July 1st 2017.
(1/1000th sec at f14. © David Hastings)

Male underside. Taken at Bernwood Forest, Bucks on June 18th 2018.
(1/400th sec at f13. © David Hastings)

Female. Taken at Bernwood Forest, Bucks, on July 1st 2017.
(1/640th sec at f14. © David Hastings)

Female underside. Taken at Bernwood Forest, Oxon., on July 2nd 2018.
(1/400th sec at f13. © David Hastings)

Female of f. valezina. Taken nr Bansko, Bulgaria on July 26th 2015.
(1/640th sec at f14. © David Hastings)

Mating pair. Taken at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon., on July 1st 2017.
(1/500th sec at f14. © David Hastings)


Wing span: 60-62 mm

This butterfly is the largest British fritillary and gets its name from the streaks of silver found on the underside of the wings. The male has four distinctive sex brands on its forewings that are used in courtship. The female is paler than the male, has rounder wings, fewer linear markings and more prominent spots. There is a variation called f. valezina, which has a silvery green ground colour to the upper surfaces. This only occurs in females.

The Silver-washed Fritillary is found in Ireland, Wales and in England south-west of a line drawn between Merseyside and the Thames Estuary. It is absent from Scotland.

It is found in woodland where the larval foodplant, Common Dog-violet, grows. It can also be found flying along lanes and 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.

The flight period is from late June to the end of August, with a peak in mid-July. The larva is the over-wintering stage.

The larval foodplant is the Common Dog-violet.

Adults frequently feed on aphid honeydew in the tree-tops. However, they often descend to nectar on Bramble blossom and Thistle flowers.

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.

This species is of Least Concern on the UK list.


08-Aug-2019 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (5)
04-Aug-2019 : Fence Wood, Berks (6)
22-Jul-2019 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (15)
21-Jul-2019 : Watlington Hill, Oxon (2)
16-Jul-2019 : Bucknell Wood, Northants (30m,5f)
12-Jul-2019 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (10+)
12-Jul-2019 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (22)
08-Jul-2019 : Bernwood Meadows, Bucks (13)
08-Jul-2019 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (14)
04-Jul-2019 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (12)
03-Jul-2019 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (25+)
30-Jun-2019 : Fence Wood, Berks (4)
22-Jun-2019 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (1)

09-Aug-2018 : Sandford Brake, Oxon (1)
31-Jul-2018 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (5)
31-Jul-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
25-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France
24-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France
23-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France
22-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France
21-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France
20-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France
19-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France
14-Jul-2018 : Watlington Hill, Oxon (2)
14-Jul-2018 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (1)
12-Jul-2018 : Cothill Fen, Oxon (2)
10-Jul-2018 : Fence Wood, Berks (8)
07-Jul-2018 : Besselsleigh Wood, Oxon (6+)
02-Jul-2018 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (21m,3f)
01-Jul-2018 : Fence Wood, Berks (16+)
26-Jun-2018 : Latterbarrow, Cumbria (1)
18-Jun-2018 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (1)
18-Jun-2018 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (1)

16-Aug-2017 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (1m,1f)
11-Aug-2017 : Bucknell Wood, Northants (16m,5f)
06-Aug-2017 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1m)
03-Aug-2017 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (1f)
23-Jul-2017 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (1)
18-Jul-2017 : Fence Wood, Berks (3)
08-Jul-2017 : Bayworth, Oxon (1)
02-Jul-2017 : Silchester Common, Hants (1)
02-Jul-2017 : Fence Wood, Berks (10+m)
01-Jul-2017 : Waterperry Wood, Oxon (5m)
01-Jul-2017 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (20+m,2f)
01-Jul-2017 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (17+m,3f)
24-Jun-2017 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (1)
18-Jun-2017 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (3)
15-Jun-2017 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (1)
11-Jun-2017 : Velebits National Park, Croatia
10-Jun-2017 : Velebits National Park, Croatia

14-Aug-2016 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (1)
06-Aug-2016 : Fence Wood, Berks (5m,3f)
23-Jul-2016 : Bernwood Meadows, Bucks (1m)
23-Jul-2016 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (10m,1f)
11-Jul-2016 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (10+m)
11-Jul-2016 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (3m,2f)

22-Aug-2015 : Yeosden Bank, Bucks (1f)
09-Aug-2015 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (1f)
02-Aug-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
02-Aug-2015 : Bernwood Meadows, Bucks (2m,2f)
26-Jul-2015 : Bansko meadows, Bulgaria
25-Jul-2015 : Nr Dobrinishte, Bulgaria
23-Jul-2015 : Pirin Mountains, Bulgaria
21-Jul-2015 : nr Petrovo, Bulgaria
11-Jul-2015 : The Holies, Berks (1)
04-Jul-2015 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (5)
03-Jul-2015 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (11+)
03-Jul-2015 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (14+)