Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Boloria selene

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  2. Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary


Widespread and sometimes abundant in Scotland and Wales, this pretty little orange and black butterfly has undergone a severe decline in England. It occurs in damp, grassy habitats as well as woodland clearings and moorland. The caterpillar feeds on violets, typically Common Dog-violet and Marsh Violet.

How to identify

The Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary is an orange butterfly with black marks on the upperside of the wings. The underside have black and silver markings along with a row of white "pearls" along the outer edge of the wing which give the species its name. Easily confused with the Pearl-bordered Fritillary, which is very similar in both size and appearance. They are most easily distinguished by their undersides - both species have the 7 white "pearls" running along the edge of the hindwing but the rest is quite different. The Pearl-bordered Fritillary exhibits 2 very distinct additional "pearls", whereas the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary has a mozaic of white, oranges and browns and, as such, has the more colourful underside.

Where to find it

Mainly Western areas of Britain. Found in Southern & Northwestern England, Wales and Scotland.


When to find it

Adults are typically flying between mid May and late June

  • May
  • June
  • July

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland and woodland habitats sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of butterflies, including the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Managing rides so they are open and sunny with coppice and flower rich grassy margins helps provide the ideal habitat for many invertebrates which, in turn, support larger animals. By volunteering for your local Trust, you can help too and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Species information

Common name
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Latin name
Boloria selene
Wingspan: 3.5 to 4.4cm
Conservation status
Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority species