Identify It > Butterfly Section > Heath Fritillaries >
Scientific name: Melitaea athalia
Size: Wingspan up to 47mm
Distribution: Rare. Isolated colonies in Kent, Devon and Cornwall
Months seen: June to August
Life span: Adult butterflies live for up to ten days
Habitat: Coppiced woodland, grassland and sheltered valleys
Food: Nectar. The caterpillars eat cow-wheat, foxgloves, plantains and germander speedwell
Special features: The Heath Fritillary is one of the most endangered butterflies in the UK. Their flight is weak and fluttery, and their range is small, so they usually remain in one place.&nbnsp;Consequently when their habitat disappears so does their colony.
Heath Fritillaries have orange and black chequered wings. They can be distinguished from other fritillary species because they have no spots or pearly markings.
The larvae are black with tiny white spots. Each body segment has a band of pale orange coloured spikes.