Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene) - Devon, UK
Canon 300mm F4 IS plus 1.4 x Extender and Canon Extension Tube EF 25 II
AV Mode, Evaluative Metering dialed to -1
Fill Flash -3
Text adapted from - http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/species.php?species=selene
The Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary is usually seen in discrete colonies containing anything between a couple of dozen and 100 adults at peak throughout Scotland and Wales, and in the western and southern counties of England but is absent from Ireland.
Patrolling males can be seen flying a couple of feet from the ground, alternating a burst of rapid wing beats with a short glide, searching out freshly-emerged females in the surrounding scrub. The wing pattern, however, makes the adult butterfly difficult to follow in flight, it being much easier to observe this species when it is basking or nectaring on flowers of Bugle and other plants.
This butterfly, like the Pearl-bordered Fritillary, gets its name from the series of "pearls" that run along the outside edge of the underside of the hindwing. The two species may be seen together at certain sites, although the Pearl-bordered Fritillary emerges a couple of weeks before the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and generally appears much paler as a result.
This butterfly first emerges in south-west England, where it may be seen from the beginning of May. This species emerges in the second half of May in other parts of England, and does not make an appearance in Scotland until June. The early emergence of the species in south-west England gives rise to a partial second brood there, which appears in August.
Most English colonies are found in open areas within deciduous woodland, such as woodland clearings. These colonies are generally small, consisting of a few dozen adults at most, and this butterfly is also relatively-sedentary with only a limited capacity for colonising new areas. Colonies in the north are also found in more exposed situations such as marshland and moorland. These are larger colonies of up to 100 individuals, typically spread across extensive areas of land and butterflies in these colonies are relatively-mobile as a result. In Cornwall, colonies occur on moorland and cliffs. At all sites damp areas are preferred, where the foodplants grow particularly vigorously.
The primary larval foodplants are Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana) and Marsh Violet (Viola palustris) while adults feed primarily on Bugle (Ajuga reptans). Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scriptus), Buttercups (Ranunculus spp.), Dandelion (Taraxacum agg.), Hawkweeds (Hieracium/Hypochoeris), Heather (Calluna vulgaris / Erica spp.), Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi), Thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.), Thyme (Thymus polytrichus) and Wood Spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides) are also used.