Pearl-bordered Fritillary underwing

Pearl-bordered Fritillary ©Tamasine Stretton

Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterfly

©Philip Precey

Pearl-bordered fritillary

Scientific name: Boloria euphrosyne
The pearl-bordered fritillary is a striking orange-and-black butterfly of sunny woodland rides and clearings. It gets its name from the row of 'pearls' on the underside of its hindwings.

Species information


Wingspan: 3.8-4.7cm

Conservation status

Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.

When to see

April to August


The pearl-bordered fritillary is a striking orange-and-black butterfly, often seen flying close to the ground along sunny woodland rides or feeding on spring flowers such as common dog-violet. It can also be found in habitats with a mosaic of grass, bracken and scrub. It is the earliest fritillary to emerge in April and may even have a second brood if the weather is good. The female lays single eggs in bracken or leaf litter close to violets, the foodplant of the caterpillars.

How to identify

The pearl-bordered fritillary is an orange butterfly with black marks on the upperside of the wings. It has black-and-silver markings on its underside, along with a row of white 'pearls' on the outer edge of the wing. It can be confused with the small pearl-bordered fritillary, which is similar in size and appearance. They are most easily distinguished by their undersides - each has a row of seven pearls, but the pearl-bordered fritillary exhibits two very distinct additional pearls, while the small pearl-bordered fritillary has a colourful mosaic of white, orange and brown markings.


Found in scattered locations in southern England, Wales and Scotland.

Did you know?

Caterpillars overwinter wrapped in a leaf at the base of a foodplant; when they emerge, they are half the size they were the previous summer.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of butterflies, including the pearl-bordered fritillary. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to surveying for butterflies.