(Eurodryas Aurinia)
family - Nymphalidae

Marsh Fritillaries can be found in Western Europe, Russia, Asia Minor and temperate Asia to Korea. (Barnett & Warren 1995). However its numbers are generally declining in Europe and its believed to be extinct in Belgium and the Netherlands. Numbers are still reasonably strong in Finland, Southern France and the Pyrenees. (Warren 1992) It is one of 21 species of insects protected under the Bern Convention (Wolton)

 In the U.K. the Marsh Fritillary is found only in S.W. England, Wales, Northern Ireland and possibly in Western Scotland. It is likely that there is a maximum of only 500 colonies in the U.K. of which about 80 are in Devon and 20 in Cornwall. Populations can vary from year to year and, amongst other factors, depend upon the strength of the population of the parasitic wasp Cotesia Bignellii.

Quoditch was lucky enough to have one of these remaining colonies mainly because of its copious amounts of Devil's Bit Scabious and Molinia Caerulae grass as well as its sympathetic management over many years. However we have not seen any since June 2006, so it looks as though the two colonies have failed.

The butterfly's eggs are laid on the undersides of the leaves of the Devil's Bit Scabious. They start as yellow in colour and gradually turn brown over the three weeks they take to hatch.

The larval stage lasts ten months. They start out as a pale ochre colour and darken over the months to black. Larvae spin a web structure over the scabious. They hibernate from August until the following February and emerge in the warmer weather.

These were found in September 1999.


and these were found in field one in March 1998.



The larvae pupate in late April/early May

(photo taken May 2002)

They fall down into the area beneath the plants and emerge about two weeks later in the final, butterfly, stage in the latter half of May.
We first spotted ours on May the 24th in 1998 and generally see them at a rate of about 15 per hour.

Click here for high resolution picture

(photo taken May 24th. 1998)

Here is a side view on Meadow Thistle (Marsh Plume Thistle)


Page last updated 6th June 2009


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Devil's Bit Scabious

Wild Cornwall Magazine - Cornwall Wildlife Trust

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