Butterfly conservation

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

When you next walk on West Down, you may be lucky enough to see a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

It's a medium-sized orange butterfly with numerous whitish pearls on the underside - the outer ones bordered by black chevrons and from the larger black central dot.

Small Pearl bordered Fritillary, Devon
Small Pearl bordered Fritillary, Devon


The main habitats used on Dartmoor, are the open moorland and bracken and patches of scrub.  The caterpillar feeds on the Common Dog-violet and Marsh violet and the adult collects nectar from bramble and thistle flowers.

Conservation work

Due to a decline in number and distribution, the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary is listed as a conservation priority species by Butterfly Conservation. This is thought to be because of a change in land management which has resulted in a lack of the right habitat for this particular butterfly.

As well as carrying out an annual transect for Butterfly Conservation, the ranger team also implements bracken and scrub management work for the benefit of future butterfly populations. This work is supported by Natural England.