The Silver-washed Fritillary is our largest resident butterfly and is especially found in the south of Ireland. It gets its name from the silvery splashes on its under wings.
A powerful flier, it prefers thin, broad leaved woodland where it can be seen gliding back and forth along sunny pathways feeding on the nectar of especially brambles and thistles. Visitors are commonly attracted to Buddleia (Butterfly bush) in our gardens.
Its breeding habits are very peculiar. In the autumn, the female lays eggs singly in cracks on a tree trunk about 1 meter above the ground and close to a clump of Dog-Violet below. Two weeks later the caterpillars hatch, hibernate immediately and next April awaken and drop to the ground to feed on the Violet before making its chrysalis in undergrowth and completing its life cycle. (Pictures taken in Tintern wood)