Argynnis aglaja | Dark Green Fritillary | Fritileán dúghlas

Pre 2017

2017 - 2021


Conservation status

Ireland: Vulnerable (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 Dark Green Fritillary is not afforded legal protection in Ireland.

Native status


Species Biology


Key identification features include:

  • Large size, wingspan: 58 - 68 mm
  • Strong flier with upperside of wings orange with dark border
  • Underside of hindwing greenish with silver spots


Specialist, now largely coastal with few inland sites, found on: unimproved dry calcareous grassland, coastal grey dunes, machair, dune-slacks and limestone pavement. The adults fly rapidly in sunshine over open ground, visiting mainly purple flowers as nectar sources. They roost, often communally, in the evening, near abundant nectar sources, sometimes on grass inflorescences (Bond & Gittings, 2008).

Flight period

Univoltine: from June to August.

Life cycle

Eggs are laid singly on live plants or on debris close to the foodplants. The larva on hatching in August eats the chorion of the
egg, but does not feed further and immediately enters diapause in leaf-litter. The larva commences feeding in the first warm days of spring, eating the leaves and often leaving just the stems. Pupation occurs in May, low down in vegetation, in a spun silken construction incorporating surrounding vegetation; within this the larva is suspended prior to pupation (Bond & Gittings, 2008).

Food plants

Specialist, the larva feed exclusively on Violets (Viola spp.), mostly likely Heartsease (Viola tricolor) given its coastal distribution.

Flowers visited

Specialist, the adult primarily feeds on Thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.), but other nectar sources include: Carline Thistle (Carlina vulgaris) and Knapweeds (Centaurea spp.).


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.