The marsh fritillary is a threatened UK species of high conservation priority. Previously found across Britain it is now largely restricted to West Britain and Ireland, where it requires large areas of damp tussock dominated or chalk grassland. Larvae feed almost exclusively on devil’s-bit scabious (Succisa pratensis) and form conspicuous silk webs which help to protect them from predators. Adults, like most butterflies, feed on nectar and have a particular preference for bugle (Ajuga reptans), cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis), and thistles (Cirsium spp.)
The Cross Hands area is a stronghold for the marsh fritillary and holds large areas of invaluable habitat. A single marsh fritillary was recorded by science placement student Lydia Cocks at the Garden in May this year, representing the Garden’s first ever record!
A wonderful treat to see my first Marsh Fritillary @walesbotanic! Vulnerable across Europe and a UK priority species, sadly there aren’t many places left where you can still see these butterflies #entomology #lepidoptera #butterfly @savebutterflies pic.twitter.com/8F4E8Bum36
— Lydia Cox (@Lydoptera) May 19, 2019
To find out more about our pollinators, come and join our Pollinator Festival, August 24-26 2019.