The silver-washed fritillary is orange-black on its upper side and therefore resembles the fritillaries. In contrast to the latter, the male of the silver-washed fritillary does have black bands on its forewings. The most recognizable feature of the silver-washed fritillary is its grey-greenish hindwings with white bands, which is different from the fritillary with its dots.
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The silver-washed fritillary is amongst the few butterfly species that can be found within forests. Its habitats are sun-penetrated forest edges and forest clearings. It lays its eggs in ridges of tree stems. Once hatched, the caterpillars need to find and move to their food source, which consists mostly of violets.