Golden fritillary butterfly project

A future for the scabious fritillary butterfly in Thuringia

The golden fritillary butterfly (Euphydryas aurinia) is the focus of this area. Here on the open land areas in the Hainich National Park, it has its main distribution in Thuringia.

The golden fritillary is a species of butterfly that occurs in Thuringia mainly on dry grassland, where it uses the dove scabious as a host plant. This is why the butterfly is often referred to as the scabious fritillary in Thuringia. Throughout Germany, including Thuringia, populations of the golden fritillary have been declining steadily for years. The rare butterfly is also classified as critically endangered on the Red Lists of endangered animal and plant species.

In order to counteract this trend, the staff of the Natura 2000 station Gotha/Ilm-Kreis, sponsored by the Naturforschende Gesellschaft Altenburg e. V., have been working for many years in cooperation with the Hainich National Park administration to preserve the golden fritillary butterfly in Thuringia. More information about the project here.

More information on the Natura 2000 station Gotha/Ilm district and its other projects at

Measures in the Hainich

The current project aims to enhance the occurrence of the butterfly by expanding suitable habitat and enriching it with host plants, as well as identifying stepping stones between the habitats. To this end, the following measures are being implemented in the Hainich project area:

  • Scrub clearance from dry grassland
  • Planting of pigeon scabious
  • Establishment of adapted use in protection zone 2 of the national park
  • Construction of pasture fences that enable more habitat-appropriate/natural use
  • Recording the populations of the golden fritillary butterfly

The project is funded by the Joint Task "Improvement of the Agricultural Structure and Coastal Protection" (GAK) within the framework of the Special Framework Plan for Insect Protection of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) as well as funds from the Free State of Thuringia within the framework of the Special Fund for Insect Protection in Thuringia