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High Brown Fritillary (Argynnis adippe)

On this page, we have made available all the information we have for this species

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Picture of High Brown Fritillary
© Eddie John

The High Brown Fritillary lives in similar habitats to the Pearl-bordered Fritillary requiring short vegetation is sunny situations where there is an abundance of its foodplant, violets, especially Dog Violet (Viola riviniana). Once widespread in coppiced woodland and bracken habitats the species has experienced the greatest decline of all butterfly species still resident in Britain. (For further details on this species see

Family : Nymphalidae

Status : Rapid decline

Status details :
Status since 1978 is Rapid decline with a decrease of -67.5%
Status over the last 20 years is Stable with a decrease of -42.5%
Status over the last 10 years is Rapid increase with a increase of 225%

Log collated index plot

Species Log Collated Index Plot

This chart shows the index of abundance (LCI = Log Collated Index) over time. It shows fluctuations in populations from year to year, and is scaled so that the average index over the whole series is equal to 2 (horizontal line). For greater detail about how this index is derived, click on the green question mark above.

Trend description :
Although not significant there has been a large decline in High Brown Fritillary numbers on UKBMS sites paralleled by its disappearance at a number of sites across the UK. The Welsh population is highly threatened and this butterfly has become more and more restricted to its English strongholds, particularly those in north Lancashire where double or three figure counts are made annually on the transects and numbers are now regarded as stable benefiting from the appropriate management in place there.

This map shows the distribution between 1995 and 2016. Data is derived from the Butterflies for the New Millenium dataset via the NBN Gateway

Phenology plot
Species Phenology Plot

Phenology plot

This chart shows the average number of butterflies seen on transects between Arpil and October across all sites (fitted values from a Generalised Additive Model). The blue line gives average counts over the full BMS series (1976 to date) and the red line gives the average for the last year.

Species abundance map


This map shows symbols for the mean abundance at transect sites, with the colour of the symbol reflecting the level of abundance. Means are over all years. Grey background squares are the occupied cells as shown by the Butterflies for the New Millenium over the previous ten year period.


In total, High Brown Fritillary has been recorded from 187 transects in the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. Of these, annual indices of abundance have been calculated from 100 sites, with an average index of 81 individuals per site.

For 70 of these sites, High Brown Fritillary has been recorded well enough to calculate annual indices of abundance in more years, allowing trends to be calculated.

In 2018, 2047 individuals were recorded from 28 sites, producing annual indices at 40 of these.

The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme is organized and funded by Butterfly Conservation (BC), the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). The UKBMS is indebted to all volunteers who contribute data to the scheme.