Side view of roange and green butterfly with white makings on hindwing and dark markings on forewing

Dark Green Fritillary. Photo: Ken Dolbear

Size: Large   Wingspan: 66mm

The Dark Green Fritillary is on the increase in Dorset, which reflects the national trend.

Where to see

  • Habitat: Flower-rich unimproved grassland, often including some scrub, and on coastal cliffs and dunes. Occasionally in woodland rides and clearings.
  • Caterpillar foodplants: Violets, especially the Hairy and Common Dog violets in Dorset.
  • Best places: Found over a reasonable proportion of Dorset, though never in large numbers. Sites reporting good numbers are: Ballard Down, Bindon Hill, Fontmell Down and Melbury Down & Wood; it has been reported from Badbury Rings, which has good public access.

Distribution map

Dark Green Fritillary was recorded from these 1km squares in Dorset (2015-19).

  •     1 record
  •     2-9 records
  •     10+ records
Explore the Atlas to see historical distribution trends for this species.

When to see

Mainly June, July and early August.

Sightings by month (last 5 years)*

Compare flight times for all species.

This year and last*

Browse the sightings archive.

What to look for

This is a large butterfly: around the same size as the Peacock.

The sexes are similar, though the female upperwings are lighter, especially towards the margins. Both have upperwings with an orange background with numerous dark marks. Both have underwings which are flushed with green and a number of prominent silver discs including a row of white dashes around the edge.

The Dark Green Fritillary could in theory be confused with the High Brown Fritillary but that butterfly is an endangered species in the UK and not found in Dorset.

Overwinter stage: Caterpillar

Photo gallery

Click thumbnails to view full-size images.

Find more Dark Green Fritillary related content, including news and photos.
*Note: The charts shown on this page are drawn only from casual sightings submitted to this website. Records from this website will be added to a lot more data collected throughout the year and used to compile the five-yearly Butterfly Atlases for Dorset and the UK.