The word ‘fritillary’ comes from Latin ‘fritillus’ meaning dice box, which is probably in reference to the spotted markings of the fritillary butterflies.
Small Pearl-bordered fritillary are very similar to Pearl-bordered. Over recent years my husband’s passion, perhaps obsession, is finally rubbing off on me and I am slowly learning the subtle differences between each butterfly.
The Small Pearl-bordered fritillary flies from mid May to mid July. As Pearl-bordered fly earlier, by the time the Small Pearl-bordered appear the Pearl-borders are starting to look a little worn and dull in comparison.
Observing or photographing the underside of the wing is a good way to tell the two apart. The Small Pearl-bordered has brighter silvery spots and a lot more of them. There is a greater contrast in colour too with much more black colouring, darker black spots and veins. As for the upperside, the Small Pearl-bordered is a slightly brighter orange, but being an amateur, this is something I need to study a lot more before being able to make a positive identification simply based on the upper-side.
For the first time I experienced the excitement and anticipation of seeing the under-wing of a butterfly.
Pearl-bordered Fritillary under-wing
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary under-wing
Pearl-bordered Fritillary upper-wing
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary upper-wing