Violet Fritillary - Clossiana dia

Scientific Name: Clossiana dia.

English Name: Violet Fritillary or Weavers Fritillary.

French Name: La Petite Violette.

5 Key Characters:
  • hindwing a distinctive violet brown underside with shining white spots.
  • a medium sized butterfly (forewing 16 - 17 mm long), small for a fritillary.
  • upperside tawny orangey brown (fauve) with strong black markings.
  • flies quickly, jerkily and erratically.
  • the first fritillary to appear in spring.
Lookalikes: Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary C. selene and Pearl Bordered Fritillary C. euphrosyne, but both these species are larger and have orange not purple undersides.

Habitat: Grasslands, especially if they are dry with dense vegetation; heaths; woodland fringes and clearings.

Flight Period: March-April-May-June-July-August-September-October.

Caterpillar: Black and bristly, June - May, overwintering as a caterpillar.

Host Plant: Violets (Sweet Violet Viola odorata, Hairy Violet V. hirta, Early Dog Violet V. reichenbachiana, Common Dog Violet V. riviniana).

Status: Locally very common and the most abundant fritillary in this area. The species benefits from the selective felling of trees and the opening up of forestry tracks and clearings, which permit colonisation by violets.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

Photographs numbered from left to right and top to bottom. All photos will enlarge into a new window if clicked. 1 & 5 on Purple Gromwell Lithospermum purpureocaeruleum on the side of a track up a limestone ridge near Preuilly-sur-Claise, April. 2 - 4 & 6 - 8 & 10 in our orchard, April. 9 & 11 - 20 on a grassy terrace along the side of a wooded limestone ridge, Chaumussay, April. 19 is sitting on a violet viola sp leaf. 21 males fighting on a bank of irises, Preuilly-sur-Claise. Row 8 - 9 in the Foret de Preuilly, June.

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