Steven Cheshire's British Butterflies
British Butterflies: Species: Species Account - The High Brown Fritillary:
High Brown Fritillary
Argynnis adippe (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)

High Brown Fritillary egg.
ova
  High Brown Fritillary caterpillar.
larva
  High Brown Fritillary chrysalis
pupa
High Brown Fritillary
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Nomenclature
Insecta: Lepidoptera : Family Nymphalidae: Subfamily Heliconiinae : Genus Argynnis: Species adippe:
Description
The High Brown Fritillary is a large powerful butterfly. The wings are orange with black markings similar to several related fritillaries especially the Dark Green Fritillary. It is usually seen in sunshine flying swiftly over bracken and other low vegetation in woodland clearings. On cloudy days, they have the habit of retreating to the top of trees when the sun goes in.

In the wild, the male High Brown Fritillary is almost impossible to distinguish from the
Dark Green Fritillaries which often occurs in the same location. The High Brown Fritillary is easy to approach when feeding on flowers such as Bramble and Thistles enabling close inspection of the underside of the wings to see their distinctive markings.

The High Brown Fritillary is a Priority Species for conservation due to the continued loss of habitat and resulting drop in population.
Habitat
The High Brown Fritillary requires scrub or coppiced woodland on limestone outcrops containing bracken-dominated areas of calcareous grassland where the larval food plant occurs.

Bracken in sunny locations where Violets are common is similar to habitat found in coppice woodland. Abundant leaf litter helps to trap warm air creating a warmer microclimate required for the larvae to develop.
Distribution
The High Brown Fritillary was once a widespread species in England and Wales but since the 1950's it has undergone a dramatic decline suffering a staggering contraction in its original range. Over 94% of its original distribution has been lost over the past fifty years and is now extinct throughout the vast majority of the UK due to habitat loss. It now has only four main strongholds the Morecambe Bay area, Exmoor, Dartmoor, and a small population in the Malvern Hills. It now only occurs on approximately 50 sites across the UK.
Where to see the High Brown Fritillary in the British Isles
The High Brown Fritillary was once a widespread species in England and Wales but since the 1950's it has undergone a dramatic decline suffering a staggering contraction in its original range. Over 94% of its original distribution has been lost over the past fifty years and is now extinct throughout the vast majority of the UK due to habitat loss. It now has only four main strongholds the Morecambe Bay area, Exmoor, Dartmoor, and a small population in the Malvern Hills. It now only occurs on approximately 50 sites across the UK.

Key sites for the High Brown Fritillary include:
Cumbria: Whitbarrow Scar, Latterbarrow, Hutton Roof Crags, Witherslack Woods.
Devon: Trenchford Reservoir (SX806824).
Lancashire: Arnside Knott, Gait Barrows NNR, Eaves Wood (Carnforth), Warton Crag (Carnforth), Heald Brow (Silverdale).
Vale of Glamorgan: Old Castle Down, Alun Valley.
Montgomeryshire: Allt Dolanog (although the species may now be extinct here).
Exmoor: Heddon Valley and Heddon's Mouth.
Dartmoor: Tor Valley.
Worcestershire: Still hanging on at Bringsty Common although recent sightings have not been confirmed.

THE MALVERN HILLS COLONY
The Malvern Hills colony still produces a few sightings every year. The main breeding areas here are thought to be on Castlemorton Common SSSI and Eastnor Park where since 1994 annual bracken management has taken place to help the species although numbers continued to decline. The butterfly also occurs around Chase End Hill. Grazing has been introduced to the southern areas of the Malvern Hill, south of British Camp in the hope that this will reverse the decline of this species in the area. The management on the Malvern Hills has also benefited many other species of Fritillary including the
Dark Green Fritillary, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Silver-washed Fritillary.
Other notes
Lifecycle chart
ovaovaovalarvaelarvaelarvaepupapupaadultadultovaadultovaovaovaovaova
 
Flight chart
JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
The lifecycle and flight charts should be regarded as approximate guides to the High Brown Fritillary in Britain. Specific lifecycle states, adult emergence and peak flight times vary from year to year due to variations in weather conditions.
IUCN category status 2010 5   IUCN category status 2007 34
Critically Endangered Critically Endangered

5Fox, R., Warren, M., Brereton, T. M., Roy, D. B. & Robinson, A.
(2010) A new Red List of British Butterflies. Insect Conservation and Diversity.
Critically Endangered Critically Endangered

3Fox, R., Warren, M & Brereton, T.
(2007) New Red List of British Butterflies. Butterfly Conservation, Wareham.

4More information about IUCN categories.
Wingspan
55-75mm
UK status
Resident
Larval foodplants
Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana) is used in all habitats and is the primary larval food plant. In Limestone areas such as colonies in the Morecambe Bay area use Hairy Violet (Viola hirta).

Heath Dog-violet (Viola canina) and Pale Dog-violet (Viola lactea) are also occasionally used.

The female butterfly lays its eggs close to a Violet plant rather than directly on it.
British subspecies
Argynnis adippe ssp. vulgoadippe (Verity, 1929)
Occurs throughout the UK.
Butterflies of Britain ID Chart
Your personal guide to British Butterflies. This 8-panel laminated chart is designed for speedy butterfly identification in the field. Ideal for anyone interested in identifying butterflies, perfect for children and adults and ideal for outdoor use, laminated, shower-proof and robust. Get your copy today.
Butterflies of Britain (Laminated ID Chart).
Online store
Visit our online store for many more butterfly related books and gifts.
Population trends 1
UK Population trend 1995-2004 down by -85%
UK Population trend 1976-2004 down by -13%

1Fox, R., Asher. J., Brereton. T., Roy, D & Warren, M. (2006) The State of Butterflies in Britain & Ireland, Pices, Oxford.
UK BAP status 2
UK BAP status priority species (link)

2For information about the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, visit the JNCC web site jncc.defra.gov.uk.

National Biodiversity Network Gateway
National Biodiversity Network Gateway Distribution Map



Areas in and indicate a contraction in distribution of the High Brown Fritillary except in Ireland where data is only available up until 1999.

* Records shown in outside the natural distribution may be the result of illegal or accidental releases by breeders or, depending upon the species, migrant individuals from mainland Europe.

Key to map*
= 2000 to 2010 inclusive (current distribution)
= records from 1950 to 1999 inclusive
= records from 1900 to 1949 inclusive
Records prior to 1st January 1900 are not shown.

The NBN Gateway records are shown on the map right. (See terms and conditions).

More data is available on the High Brown Fritillary on the NBN Gateway web site.
Powered by NBN Gateway.
References
For full details of books and reports mentioned on this web site, view the references page.

Find out more online*
High Brown Fritillary can be found on Peter Eeles excellent UK Butterflies web site.
High Brown Fritillary can be found on Matt Rowlings excellent European Butterflies web site.

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Photographs of the High Brown Fritillary
Image ID BB448 - High Brown Fritillary - © Steven Cheshire
High Brown Fritillary female (imago)
BB448 ©
Image ID BB447 - High Brown Fritillary - © Steven Cheshire
High Brown Fritillary unknown (imago)
BB447 ©
Image ID BB446 - High Brown Fritillary - © Steven Cheshire
High Brown Fritillary female (imago)
BB446 ©
Image ID BB445 - High Brown Fritillary - © Steven Cheshire
High Brown Fritillary unknown (imago)
BB445 ©
Image ID BB444 - High Brown Fritillary - © Steven Cheshire
High Brown Fritillary unknown (imago)
BB444 ©
Image ID BB138 - High Brown Fritillary - © Debbie Cheshire
High Brown Fritillary female (imago)
BB138 ©
Image ID BB137 - High Brown Fritillary - © Debbie Cheshire
High Brown Fritillary unknown (imago)
BB137 ©
Image ID BB136 - High Brown Fritillary - © Debbie Cheshire
High Brown Fritillary unknown (imago)
BB136 ©
Image ID BB135 - High Brown Fritillary - © Debbie Cheshire
High Brown Fritillary female (imago)
BB135 ©
Image ID BB134 - High Brown Fritillary - © Debbie Cheshire
High Brown Fritillary female (imago)
BB134 ©
There are 21 photographs of the High Brown Fritillary in our stock photo library.
View more photographs of the High Brown Fritillary as a thumbnail gallery or as a slideshow.
Aberrations and forms
There are 9 named aberrant forms of the High Brown Fritillary currently listed. Find out more about aberrants here.

ab. albomaculata - Goodson 1948
ab. bronzus - Frohawk 1938
ab. callisto - Cabeau 1922
ab. cuneata - Tutt 1896
ab. fasciata - Blachier 1910
ab. infrarufescens - Lempke 1956
ab. margareta - Stephan 1924
ab. pseudocleodoxa - Verity 1929
ab. toroki - Aigner 1906