The species developes on Viola plants such as Viola hirta in limestone grasslands or forest edges.
Argynnis adippe inhabits clearings, forest gap systems, hillsides, mountain pastures and bushy grasslands close to woodlands.
Hibernation takes place as a caterpillar in the egg shell. I found caterpillars in May and early June, for example, on small, partly fallow grasslands of the Swabian Alb at the forest edge during the day at straws and old leaves on the gound. The larval food is there Viola hirta. In the foothills of the Alps, Argynnis adippe lives in clearings, which often have a rich stock of tall herbs. Argynnis aglaja vanishes much faster when clearings are overgrown because its larva needs open grasslands and not higher growing forest edges.
Argynnis adippe is endangered partly through the darkening of forests (high forest, dense afforestation, single tree selection) and the reduction of bushy grasslands, but is probably still not under an existential threat because of its ability to reproduce in partly nutrient-rich and woody environments.
The distribution ranges from Northwest Africa across Europe far into temperate Asia.