Small pearl bordered fritillaries

I was out yesterday afternoon looking at marsh fritillary habitat as we are trying to produce some suitable habitat for them at Parke and in the Teign Valley. I couldn’t find any marsh fritillaries but I did come across a small colony of small pearl bordered fritillaries.

Small pearl bordered fritillary 3This is a male small pearl bordered fritillary

Small pearl bordered fritillary 5This is a female – brighter ‘pearls’ around the lower margins of the wings

Small pearl bordered fritillary 1
Amazing underwing colouration

Small pearl bordered fritillary 2
Detail

Small pearl bordered fritillary 4Hanging on as the buttercup bends

Small pearl bordered fritillaries have declined massively across the country with the heaviest losses in Eastern and Central England. Dartmoor is still a strong hold for the species. The best National Trust places to see the butterfly are Hembury Woods in the Dart Valley – the open ground around the hill fort and in the Teign Valley below Castle Drogo.

I wish it could be summer and sunny every day and  then I wish I would have the time to chase butterflies all the time – it’s just a dream

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