Silver-washed fritillary

The New Forest was once famed for its silver-washed fritillaries, which according to one writer were seen in such profusion that ‘it was common to see 40 or more assembled on the blossoms of a large bramble bush’. These days it is fairly widespread and common in many woodlands of Hampshire, but the New Forest remains a stronghold for it. Although it decreased greatly during the 1900s it appears to be on the increase again.

Silver-washed fritillaries prefer mature, sunny woodland with an open tree canopy; old woodlands of the New Forest are ideal for it. Unlike the other fritillaries they will usually lay their eggs on the trunks of mature trees, often choosing the shadier northern side.

You can easily find this beautiful butterfly by visiting sunny spots in any of the New Forest deciduous woodlands during July and August. Sit beside a patch of flowering bramble and wait. On a sunny day you should see several before too long.

ID tip – Silver-washed are the largest of the fritillaries and one of the UK’s largest butterflies. The upperside is orange with black spots and streaks and the underside is a beautiful olive green streaked with lines of silver.

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


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