I am fairly sure it's a fritillary of some kind but i'm not certain of its species.
Possibly siler-washed or pearl bordered?
Found about three weeks ago
Many thanks in advance
The forewing outer margin looks very slightly concave which I think makes it the high brown fritillary Argynnis adippe. The small black spot on the hind wing next to the two large ones suggests a female, Collins showing the male as having a blank at this point.
Have a read of the comments here regarding differentiating high brown- and dark green fritillaries
You'll see that it is difficult unless you can see the underside.
However, that page also states:
"It is much more difficult to distinguish the Dark Green Fritillary from the High Brown Fritillary based on their uppersides. However, the first row of dots from the outside edge of the forewing upperside do give a clue - the 3rd dot from the apex of the forewing is in line with the other dots in the Dark Green Fritillary, but indented toward the body in the High Brown Fritillary."
and makes reference to its following photo.
Based on that, I'd go with dark green fritillary.
The flight periods are similar, so that doesn't help.
But also consider location, eg. look at these maps
That also makes it more likely to be dark green fritillary, Argynnis aglaja.
But you know where you saw it.
I am still somewhat uneasy with the identification of Dark Green. Do you not think the butterfly in the photo has a slightly concave outer margin on the front wing? One of my guides makes a point about this being a defining feature of the High Brown That particular guide uses photos and unfortunately the photos of the Dark Green are not clear so I turn to my Collins with its very clear drawings.
Collins shows the Dark Green with slightly convex outer margin and the High Brown with slightly concave. So what do we make of Mr Eeles website? When he makes a big deal about the location of the middle spot is this with authority or is this merely something he has incorrectly concluded from his own observations and seeks to make into a rule? Again, I turn to my Collins and make an interesting discovery.
The drawing for the High Brown female (for I believe it is a female as the male has no middle spot on the hind wing) is not symmetric! I have to conclude that the book seeks to show the range of variation in the species. The left front wing shws the middle spot on the front wing as being displaced towards the body as noted by Mr Eeles but the right hand wing shows it perfectly in line. If you have Collins, look it up. If it would be helpful I can scan this image and upload it.
So I am left wondering. Is the UKButterflies website (which seems to be the private domain of Mr Eeles) definitive or not? Is Collins definitive or not? And most of all, if this butterfly has a concave front wing outer edge, can it really be Dark Green?
My Collins guide is Higgins & Riley, 1970; not sure that is the same as yours.
- dark green with convex outer edges to forewings, and high brown some as convex, some concave.
- dark green with 3rd spot in-line (I'm considering the 'inside' edge of the spot), and high brown as inline or indented 'inwards'.
Its 'similar species' notes are not very useful in distinguishing these two species.
I suspect we're seeing different sources' differing experiences and biasses (be they conscious or unconscious). Some factors materialize in photos, some in text. I take your point about the concave margin, but I really don't know how significant it is. Ditto the indented/not dot. The fact that some sources do not describe these characters implies either: they are overlooked; they are not considered reliable and/or significant.
Without seeing the underside, we may never be certain.
However, Jack, please tell us if your photo was taken in an area (even if generally) included in the range of high brown fritillary (as per link in earlier post).
That would bias my suggested ID significantly.
My Collins is Tolman & Lewington 1997. I had no idea that this guide came in different versions (stupid or what?) - but it is interesting that this particular illustration has been changed since 1970.
Just to be explicit: my book is Collins 'A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Britain and Europe', which I guess is a predecessor of your 'The Most Complete Field Guide to the Butterflies of Britain and Europe', though quite a few years apart. So its illustrations would not necessarily be exactly comparable (though you'd like to think there would be a good degree of conformity).
Mike (and Jack),
The question seems to be, is this a High Brown because of the concave outer margin or is it Dark Green because of the placement of the middle spot on the forewing. So I researched the Internet, avoiding sites like flikr where there are many misidentified photos of butterflies and insects etc.
I managed to find a couple of photos identified as High Brown with middle spots in line. Then to be sure I searched for Dark Green with concave outer margins and immediately found several. We had a discussion in a different thread about taxonomic authorities and concluded that these matters come down to a majority/concensus view.So I conclude that my guide that draws attention to the concave shape in the High Brown is wrong and the placement of the middle spot is more important. So I agree it is a Dark Green.
Hello Mike and Allan,
Sorry about the delay but i've been away from the computer. If this is still up for debate I'd hasten to add that it was spotted in Devon, right on a spot from UK Butterflies site for both High Brown and Dark Green on a S
I would like to thank you both for your time and effort in this.