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  • Silver-washed Fritillary

Pictured: silver-washed fritillary, Argynnis paphia

Notes from Jenyns: Taken in Whitewood in Aug. 24. ~ and in the Oakery at Bottisham two successive years in July. ~ Occurs also on Alington Hill, & the borders of Swaffham Fen. ~ Cambridge, L.P. Garnons.

200-year trend in Cambridgeshire: Little change (after recently rebounding from a period of decline).

Modern records

Jenyns’ notes show that the silver-washed fritillary was once a fairly common sight in Cambridgeshire, observed in woodlands over successive summers. However, as with other ‘woodland’ fritillaries this species has suffered declines, albeit less severely, attributed to the cessation of traditional coppicing and a general lack of habitat management. 

Until relatively recently the silver-washed fritillary was extinct in Cambridgeshire, but unlike other similar species, it has shown some signs of recovery, possibly aided by climate change. The larvae of this species can also feed in shaded habitats, so the cessation of coppicing has not been as bad as it has been for other butterflies. Records have started reappearing throughout many parts of East Anglia, with increasingly large populations in many Cambridgeshire woodlands like Brampton Wood and Hayley Wood. Locally, numbers of this butterfly appear to be heading back towards the levels seen 200 years ago. 

National records map

Silver-washed fritillary national records map: