Home The Butterflies of Gloucestershire Species Habitats Conservation

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Clossiana (Boloria) selene
Female, 16 July 1978 11 June 1978 (in Scotland)


The Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary is found in open woodland, often in damp grassy areas. Like the Pearl-bordered Fritillary it uses Common Dog-violet Viola riviniana as its larval foodplant.

It is often seen along wide forestry tracks, and in young plantations for the first few years before trees and shrubby undergrowth have shaded out most of the violets.

To distinguish between uppersides of the two
pearl-bordered species, compare the placement
of the black dot between the inner and outer
black markings in the trailing corner of the
forewing. It is centred between them for the
Pearl-bordered (in the upper photograph), and
distinctly offset towards the outer marking
on the Small Pearl-bordered in the lower

Conservation Issues

Nationally this fritillary has been in serious decline, like the Pearl-bordered. In our area the only known colonies are in the Forest of Dean where continuity of forestry operations should ensure a continuing supply of habitat. Certainly the species has survived there whilst the Pearl-bordered unfortunately seems to have died out.

Occasional Cotswold sightings suggest that like several other species, the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary is sometimes reared and released by enthusiasts.

Flight Period

Usually from late May or early June to the end of June. Like the Pearl-bordered Fritillary, flight periods can be much affected by the weather.

The flight period overlaps with that of the Pearl-bordered Fritillary, and with their similar size and upperside markings there is scope for misidentification of one for the other.


In suitable habitat throughout most of the Forest of Dean.

No map - species found in less than 20 tetrads