High Brown Fritillary Butterfly - Fabriciana adippe

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Lepidoptera - Family: Nymphalidae

High Brown Fritillary Butterfly - Fabriciana adippe, male, basking in sunshie

The High Brown Fritillary Fabriciana adippe (syn. Argynnis adippe) gets its common name from the arc of brown spots on the undersides of its hindwings, between the outer margin and the silver spangles. Such brown spots are absent from the Dark Green Fritillary. It is a large butterfly, the wingspan ranging from 55 to 69mm, the males being typically smaller and more brightly coloured than the females. A male is shown above, and another male can be seen in the picture below.

High Brown Fritillary Butterfly - Fabriciana adippe, a male

A close relative of the Dark Green Fritillary, this beautiful butterfly is Britain's most threatened fritillary, having suffered very serious decline since the 1970s.


Bracken-rich moorland and limestone grassland are the habitats favoured (in Britain, at least of this lovely fritillary butterfly.


In Britain the High Brown Fritillary is now a very rare sight, being found only in a few scattered locations in the westcountry, Wales and Cumbria.

Elsewhere, the High Brown Fritillary is found in parts of central and southern Europe.

High Brown Fritillary Butterfly - Fabriciana adippe, undxerside of wings


In common with other large fritillaries, violets (Viola species). including, particularly on woodland edges, Dog Violets Viola riviniana and other violet species are the foodplants of the High Brown Fritillary. In July and August, females lay their straw-coloured eggs singly on the leaves and stems of low-growing plants near to violets. The young overwinter inside the eggs until spring, when the larvae begin feeding on violet leaves before pupating. Adult High Brown Fritillary butterflies emerge in a single brood from late May to late June, flying throughout the summer months.


This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Rob Petley-Jones and by Betty and Tony Rackham.

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