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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

12 August, 2015

Silver-washed Fritillary: barking up the right tree | Nature Notes from Dorset

I always have a sense of excitement when I first see a silver-washed fritillary (Argynnis paphia). It is such a beautiful creature; a large butterfly with intricate markings and is an absolute joy to behold. It is essentially a butterfly of woodlands, especially areas of well established woodland, both deciduous and coniferous.
This is certainly a butterfly of the south and there are several sites in Dorset where it can still be found. It may not be as common as it once was perhaps, but where it does occur it can be quite numerous, especially at the peak of its flight time, July and in to August. It has just the one brood each year and the eggs are laid in the crevices of tree bark (notably oak) and that is where the larvae return to to hibernate before emerging as adult butterflies the following summer.
It often appears in a darker olive green form which can be mistaken for a different species.

Read more: Silver-washed Fritillary: barking up the right tree | Nature Notes from Dorset