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County Durham Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary project - COMPLETED

Restoring the larval food plant of the small pearl-boarded fritillary
In vitro propagated Viola palustris

The small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly is threatened with extinction in the Durham Wildlife Trust (DWT) area. Habitat degradation has occurred as a result of agricultural intensification – drainage, application of fertilisers, increased grazing pressure etc. This led to loss of the larval food plant Viola palustris (marsh violet) and other flowering plants (nectar sources for the adult butterfly). As a result the small pearl became extinct across much of County Durham leaving only a few vulnerable isolated colonies.

This project focuses on saving the small pearl-bordered fritillary within the Heart of Durham area. Habitat restoration is therefore based on the reintroduction of marsh violets and suitable nectar plants. Conservation Biotechnology will be developing propagules of marsh violets from seeds collected from different populations within the Heart of Durham area.

Project partners and collaborators


Durham Wildlife Trust

Project funders


SITA Trust

Project Department

Project Leader: