Kathy Henderson has been keeping a watchful eye on some of the Marsh Fritillary larval webs Continue reading
Dave Law went looking for some Marsh Fritillary nests – and found them! Continue reading
Wren photographed this Marsh Fritillary at Ryewater Nursery, Sherborne on 22/05/18 and says he saw a further four while walking his transect later in the day. These photos were taken at dawn which is why Wren was able to capture the beauty of dewdrops on the antennae.
Hopefully this year will be a better year for Marsh Fritillary, one of our declining species. A number have been reported not only in Dorset, but elsewhere in the UK. Loss of habitat is a major factor in their decline, though Butterfly Conservation and their volunteers carry out a great deal of habitat management to enable this stunning butterfly to survive.
The flight period is May – July in one brood, and the caterpillar foodplant is Devils-bit Scabious, and sometimes honeysuckle.
Dave found this freshly emerged Marsh Fritillary at Cerne Abbas on 15/05/18. It has one brood and is generally seen in the UK May- July.
It is probably the most variable of all the European fritillaries in respect to size and ground colour of the upper sides of fore and hind-wings.
It has adapted to a wide variety of habitats in Europe but in the UK it is mostly found in grassy, flowery places which hosts the caterpillar foodplant, devils bit scabious.
Dave Law got these great photos at our Alners Gorse Butterfly Reserve on 24/05/2017.
Mark says: Thought you might like these couple of pics of a superbly fresh Marsh Fritillary taken today (10/05/17) on Compton Down. Had me running up and down the darned hillside for a few hours but eventually nailed the blighter!
A nest of Marsh Fritillary larvae soaking up the sunshine at Hog Cliff near the A37 on 15/02/2017 “when the sun finally came out!” says Dave Law.
A lovely shot from Tim, which gives a good idea of the butterfly’s size. It’s easy to assume all butterflies are the size of Red Admirals, but many are smaller. Tim found this friendly specimen at Lydlinch Common on 10 June.
Dave says: “Season starting to wind down now for the Marsh Frits with just a few seen, although this girl seemed quite fresh and egg laden. Also next year’s generation is on the way with this egg batch on the devils bit scabious”.
Thanks to Dave for this reminder that butterflies exist in more than their adult forms. How about you brilliant photographers sending us a few more photos of caterpillars and chrysalises?
Charles says: “Lydlinch common has an abundance of orchids at the moment and the Marsh Fritillaries are obviously happy to take a well earned rest on these beautiful plants. Photo taken on 4th June late afternoon.”
Lydlinch Common is in North Dorset, and together with other local sites hosts a very important number of this declining butterfly. Since 1976 we have seen a 79% decline in its occurence nationally.