Pearl-bordered & small pearl-bordered fritillary

These two very similar species have become very rare in southern Britain. Both are now found in only a few woods in the New Forest and virtually nowhere else in Hampshire or Sussex. A century ago both species were very widespread and common in woodlands, but when coppicing was abandoned they decreased rapidly.

Both species require open sunny clearings within woodland areas and this habitat was provided by coppicing. Specific coppicing management is now carried out in order to help these butterflies. In the New Forest, scrub is cleared and trees are planted away from the edges of rides to keep them open and sunny.

Pearl-bordered fritillaries fly from early May through to mid-June and the woodlands around Standing Hat just north-west of Brockenhurst are the most reliable sites for them. Small pearl-bordered fritillaries fly a little later, from late May through to end of June, and are mostly to be found in woodlands around Holmsley.

ID tip – Fritillaries have orange checked markings with black spots on the upperside. These two species are the only ones to be found in Hampshire woods in May or June. They can be told apart by looking at the underside of the hindwing. Both species have a pretty mosaic of orange, golden and white cells. The small pearl-bordered has several white spots in the centre of that wing, whereas the pearl-bordered has just one.

  1. Butterflies
  2. Brimstone
  3. Brown butterflies: meadow brown, gatekeeper & ringlet
  4. Grayling
  5. Orange tip
  6. Pearl-bordered & small pearl-bordered fritillary (you are here)
  7. Silver-studded blue
  8. Silver-washed fritillary
  9. Speckled wood
  10. White admiral


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