Melitaea cinxia

Glanville Fritillary


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

Show butterflies of: EU US
Photo: cinxia32.jpg

Valais, Switzerland, May 2013

Photo: cinxia33.jpg

Valais, Switzerland, May 2014

Field notes and information

A widespread and often common species across most of Europe. Very local in the UK, essentially confined to the southern cliffs of the Isle of Wight and the nearby mainland.

Identification & Similar species: Several similar species are differentiated as follows:

Glanville fritillary M. cinxia: Upperside discal band forms a continuous line. Hindwing post discal row of black spots on upper and undersides. Upperside ground colour uniform. Underside hindwing post discal row of black pupilled orange spots lack black arches. Most of Europe and northwest Africa. Absent from most of southern Spain, most of Scandinavia and the UK.

Knapweed fritillary M. phoebe: Upperside discal band usually a thick line of more or less joined up squarish spots. Hindwing postdiscal row of black spots only on upperside, and often absent. Upperside ground colour variegated with post discal area usually a deeper orange. Most of Europe and north Africa except the UK, Scandinavia.

Freyer's fritillary M. arduinna: Upperside discal band a row of mostly separated round spots. Very local in the Balkans, from northern Greece to eastern Serbia.

Aetherie's fritillary M. aetherie: Upperside discal band a row of well separated round spots and post discal band in the male very lightly marked. Hindwing post discal row lacking black spots. Uppserside ground colour uniform. Very local in north Africa, Sicily, south Spain and south Portugal.

Distribution & Flight: In the north and in Africa, in May and June. In some regions double brooded in April/ June and July/ September.

Habitat & Behaviour: Exploits a wide range of habitats, including flowery meadows, bare distrubed ground, dry slopes, bushy places.

Variation: A variable species with many named forms and a few subspecies. Of particular note is the small bright subspecies punica from north Africa.

Photo: cinxia29.jpg

SW Serbia, June 2012

Photo: cinxia52.jpgPhoto: cinxia53.jpgPhoto: cinxia54.jpg

Vaud, Switzerland, May 2021

Photo: cinxia51.jpg

Valais, Switzerland, May 2021

Photo: cinxia43.jpgPhoto: cinxia42.jpg

Valais, Switzerland May 2016

Photo: cinxia44.jpg

Valais, Switzerland, April 2017

Photo: cinxia28.jpg

SW Serbia, June 2012

A very dark individual.

Photo: cinxia45.jpgPhoto: cinxia46.jpgPhoto: cinxia47.jpg

Valais, Switzerland, May 2018

Photo: cinxia48.jpg

Valais, Switzerland, March 2018

Photo: cinxia26.jpg

SW Serbia, June 2012

An extremely darkly marked aberrant.

Photo: cinxia5.jpg

Valais, Switzerland, April 2005

Variation often found in some populations.

Photo: cinxia49.jpgPhoto: cinxia50.jpg

Valais, Switzerland, April 2020


Photo: cinxia23.jpgPhoto: cinxia21.jpg

Valais, Switzerland, April 2011