The pearl-bordered fritillary is only found on the Burren in Clare, southeast Galway and the Aran Islands. Where it occurs it is local and uncommon.
The habitats of this species are grassy forest clearings, unimproved dry calcareous grassland and limestone pavement. The rapid expansion of scrub in the Burren is a real threat to the habitat of the pearl-bordered fritillary because it is very sensitive to its breeding area becoming overgrown. Females have also found to be extremely reluctant to fly over scrub to new habitat and it is therefore sensitive to habitat fragmentation.
It is assessed as endangered in Ireland.