Argynnis paphia | Silver-washed Fritillary | Fritileán geal

Pre 2017

2017 - 2021


Conservation status

Ireland: Least Concern (Regan et al., 2010)
Europe: Least Concern (van Swaay et al., 2010)
Climate risk category: Climate Change Risk; present distribution in Europe can be explained by climate to a moderate extent (Settele et al., 2008)

Legal status

The Silver-washed Fritillary is not afforded legal protection in Ireland.

Native status


Species Biology


Key identification features include:

  • Large size, wingspan: 69 - 80 mm
  • Upperside of wings bright orange with multiple dark spots
  • Underside of hindwing greenish with silver stripes


Generalist, found on tall-herb and grassy forest clearings, urban parks.The adults, which are powerful fliers, fly in sunny conditions or dappled sunlight in herb-rich woodland clearings and margins of woodland, frequently perching and feeding on flowers of tall herbs. Both sexes roost at the tops of trees at other times (Bond & Gittings, 2008).

Flight period

Univoltine: from July to September.

Life cycle

Eggs are laid between the crevices of bark on trees at a height of 1.0-1.5 m. Sites are chosen that are not more than 2 m from the foodplant. After hatching in August, the larva eats part of the eggshell, but then moves to crevices in the tree-trunk to hibernate. In late March or April it becomes active and moves to a feeding site. The young larva feeds intermittently by day, feeding on young leaves and shoots; it also basks at times on nearby leaf-litter and soil. The older larva is more mobile and may travel some distance between feeding bouts. Pupation occurs about late May. The pupa is suspended from a silken pad, but the site of pupation in uncertain, but is thought to be on twigs and vegetation near the feeding site (Bond & Gittings, 2008).

Food plants

Specialist, the larvae feed exclusively on Violets (Viola spp.), primarily Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana).

Flowers visited

Generalist, adults feed primarily on Bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.) but other nectar sources include: Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica), Knapweeds (Centaurea spp.), Privet (Ligustrum vulgare), Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), Thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.) and Water Mint (Mentha aquatica).


World distribution(GBIF)

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2021

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.



Bond, K.G.M. and Gittings, T. 2008. Database of Irish Lepidoptera. 1 - Macrohabitats, microsites and traits of Noctuidae and butterflies. Irish Wildlife Manuals, No. 35. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dublin, Ireland.

Regan, E.C., Nelson, B., Aldwell, B., Bertrand, C., Bond, K., Harding, J., Nash, D., Nixon, D. and Wilson, C.J. 2010. Ireland Red List No. 4 – Butterflies. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Ireland.

Settele, J., Kudrna, O., Harpke, A., Kühn, I., Van Swaay, C., Verovnik, R., Warren, M.S., Wiemers, M., Hanspach, J., Hickler, T. and Kühn, E. 2008. Climatic risk atlas of European butterflies. Sofia-Moscow: Pensoft.

Van Swaay, C., Cuttelod, A., Collins, S., Maes, D., López Munguira, M., Šašic, M., Settele, J., Verovnik, R., Verstrael, T., Warren, M., Wiemers, M. and Wynhof, I. 2010. European Red List of Butterflies. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.