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The Silver-washed Fritillary is one of Europe's largest and most magnificent butterflies. The male, illustrated above is easily distinguished from the female by the 4 prominent horizontal dark streaks on it's forewings. These contain androconial scales, from which pheromones are released during the courtship flight.
The Silver-washed Fritillary prefers slightly shadier conditions than most other woodland Fritillaries and is better able to survive in high canopy forests and woods that have become neglected and overgrown. The highest populations occur in mature oak and beech plantations where a program of regular thinning encourages a profusion of dog violets to germinate beneath the trees. The best sites are also typified by having glades and grassy tracks where thistles, brambles and other nectar sources are abundant.
Periodically the pair fly down to settle on bracken or hazel, or to nectar at bramble, but return to the tree tops if disturbed. Copulation lasts about 2 hours and takes place in late morning or early afternoon.