Steven Cheshire's British Butterflies
British Butterflies: Species: Species Account - The Queen of Spain Fritillary:
Queen of Spain Fritillary
Issoria lathonia (Linnaeus, 1758)

Queen of Spain Fritillary egg.
ova
  Queen of Spain Fritillary caterpillar.
larva
  Queen of Spain Fritillary chrysalis
pupa
Queen of Spain Fritillary
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Nomenclature
Insecta: Lepidoptera : Family Nymphalidae: Subfamily Heliconiinae : Genus Issoria: Species lathonia:
Description
The Queen of Spain Fritillary is superficially similar to the Dark Green Fritillary in flight but is somewhat smaller and has more angular wings similar to the High Brown Fritillary. The main identifiable feature which separates the Queen of Spain Fritillary from all other fritillaries are the large silvery/opalescent patches on the undersides of its hind wings.
Habitat
The Queen of Spain fritillary may be seen in costal dune systems, heathland and areas of limestone pavement especially in the northern parts of its distribution. Further south in Europe it may be seen in a wide variety of habitats where the larval food plant occurs. In the UK, it is a very rare migrant from Europe and many years may pass before an individual sighting is reported.

Recent years have seen some evidence that the species is capable of forming breeding colonies in the UK (see below).
Distribution
The Queen of Spain Fritillary is an extremely rare migrant to the UK even though it is known to have strong migratory habits and strong colonies exist just across the English Channel. During the 1990's it is thought that the species did have a small breeding colony which persisted for several years in Suffolk until the colony died out... probably due to a harsh winter.

Sporadic sightings have increased in recent years.

On the 13th June 2007, a single Queen of Spain was photogragraphed at Old Winchester Hill in Hampshire but others were also reported, possibly consisting of up to 7 individuals. On the 15th September 2008, a single Queen of Spain was photogragraphed at Brandy Hole Copse near Chichester in Sussex (OD Grid Ref: SU85040660) by Mike Perry and Sandra Gould.
 
In 2009, an individual was seen again at Brandy Hole Copse on the 14th July by Robert Beale who also managed to get a photograph. Later in mid-September a pair of Queen of Spain Fritillaries were photographed by Neil Hulme mating at the same site in Sussex. Up to 6 different individuals have been seen consisting of 5 males and 1 female. These individuals are thought to be the offspring of a female seen at the same location in July. The presence of good quantities of the larval food plant Field Pansey at the site is key and is dependant on environmentally-friendly farming practices which avoid spraying crops at the edge of fields where the food plant grows.
Where to see the Queen of Spain Fritillary in the British Isles
The Queen of Spain Fritillary is an extremely rare migrant to the UK even though it is known to have strong migratory habits and colonies exist just across the English Channel.

An increase in sightings along the south coast of England and evidence of breeding in Sussex is an encouraging sign of what may be to come.

Old Winchester Hill in Hampshire and Brandy Hole Copse in Sussex and the surrounding fields are good locations based on recent observations.
Other notes
14-07-09 -  Queen of Spain Fritillary seen again at Brandy Hole Copse by Robert Beale.

15-09-08 - Queen of Spain Fritillary was photogragraphed at Brandy Hole Copse near Chichester in Sussex (OD Grid Ref: SU85040660) by Mike Perry and Sandra Gould.

13-06-07 - Queen of Spain Fritillary photogragraphed at Old Winchester Hill in Hampshire.

09-10-06 - Queen of Spain Fritillary at Trenoweth station, St. Mary's on Isles of Scilly.

??-06-03 - Queen of Spain Fritillary seen at Walberswick near Southwold Suffolk.

??-06-98 - Queen of Spain Fritillary seen at East Blean Woods Kent.

??-06-97 - 27 Queen of Spain Fritillaries were recorded at a site in Suffolk.
Lifecycle chart
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Flight chart
JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
The lifecycle and flight charts should be regarded as approximate guides to the Queen of Spain Fritillary in Britain. Specific lifecycle states, adult emergence and peak flight times vary from year to year due to variations in weather conditions.
IUCN category status 2010 5   IUCN category status 2007 34
--awaiting data-- --awaiting data--

5Fox, R., Warren, M., Brereton, T. M., Roy, D. B. & Robinson, A.
(2010) A new Red List of British Butterflies. Insect Conservation and Diversity.
Not Applicable Not Applicable

3Fox, R., Warren, M & Brereton, T.
(2007) New Red List of British Butterflies. Butterfly Conservation, Wareham.

4More information about IUCN categories.
Wingspan
34-56mm
UK status
Rare Migrant
Larval foodplants
The main food plants particularly of more northern populations include Wild Pansy (Viola tricolor) and Field Pansy (Viola arvensis).
Butterflies of Britain ID Chart
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Butterflies of Britain (Laminated ID Chart).
Online store
Visit our online store for many more butterfly related books and gifts.
Population trends 1
UK Population trend 1995-2004 not applicable
UK Population trend 1976-2004 not applicable

1Fox, R., Asher. J., Brereton. T., Roy, D & Warren, M. (2006) The State of Butterflies in Britain & Ireland, Pices, Oxford.
UK BAP status 2
UK BAP status not applicable (link)

2For information about the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, visit the JNCC web site jncc.defra.gov.uk.

National Biodiversity Network Gateway
National Biodiversity Network Gateway Distribution Map



Areas in and indicate a contraction in distribution of the Queen of Spain Fritillary except in Ireland where data is only available up until 1999.

* Records shown in outside the natural distribution may be the result of illegal or accidental releases by breeders or, depending upon the species, migrant individuals from mainland Europe.

Key to map*
= 2000 to 2010 inclusive (current distribution)
= records from 1950 to 1999 inclusive
= records from 1900 to 1949 inclusive
Records prior to 1st January 1900 are not shown.

The NBN Gateway records are shown on the map right. (See terms and conditions).

More data is available on the Queen of Spain Fritillary on the NBN Gateway web site.
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References
For full details of books and reports mentioned on this web site, view the references page.

Find out more online*
Queen of Spain Fritillary can be found on Peter Eeles excellent UK Butterflies web site.
Queen of Spain Fritillary can be found on Matt Rowlings excellent European Butterflies web site.

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Photographs of the Queen of Spain Fritillary
Image ID BB1586 - Queen of Spain Fritillary - © Debbie Cheshire
Queen of Spain Fritillary female (imago)
BB1586 ©
Image ID BB1585 - Queen of Spain Fritillary - © Debbie Cheshire
Queen of Spain Fritillary female (imago)
BB1585 ©
Image ID BB1362 - Queen of Spain Fritillary - © Steven Cheshire
Queen of Spain Fritillary female (imago)
BB1362 ©
Image ID BB667 - Queen of Spain Fritillary - © Debbie Cheshire
Queen of Spain Fritillary male (imago)
BB667 ©
Image ID BB666 - Queen of Spain Fritillary - © Debbie Cheshire
Queen of Spain Fritillary male (imago)
BB666 ©
Image ID BB665 - Queen of Spain Fritillary - © Debbie Cheshire
Queen of Spain Fritillary male (imago)
BB665 ©
Image ID BB664 - Queen of Spain Fritillary - © Debbie Cheshire
Queen of Spain Fritillary male (imago)
BB664 ©
Image ID BB663 - Queen of Spain Fritillary - © Steven Cheshire
Queen of Spain Fritillary male (imago)
BB663 ©
Image ID BB662 - Queen of Spain Fritillary - © Steven Cheshire
Queen of Spain Fritillary male (imago)
BB662 ©
Image ID BB661 - Queen of Spain Fritillary - © Steven Cheshire
Queen of Spain Fritillary male (imago)
BB661 ©
There are 15 photographs of the Queen of Spain Fritillary in our stock photo library.
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