Distinction from E. chalcedona is based mainly on differences in genitalia; however, in most regions they may be told apart by the darker, more prevalently black coloring of E. chalcedona.
Distinction from E. editha is sometimes difficult, and is also best done by looking at genitalia. However, in many areas E. editha can be separated by the fact that on the under side of the hind wing the orange postmedian (just outside the middle) orange band is usually divided by a black line, while in E. anicia and E. chalcedona this same black line is ill-defined or absent and located near the inner edge, with the inner side of it white or yellowish instead of orange. On the upper side the markings of E. editha appear to be more "squared" (especially in the median orange band), more regular, and more continuous and lined up from front to hind wings. Also the wings of E. editha are often more rounded in shape and more elongate and pointed in E. anicia and E. chalcedona. Often two or three of these species fly together. In most inland cold winter regionas E. editha and E. chalcedona begin to fly well before E. anicia.
Primarily in mountains. Arizona and New Mexico north through the Colorado Plateuas, Rockies, and mountains of the Great Basin north to South Dakota, Alberta, and Alaska. Similar looking orangey populations with the male genitalia of E. chalcedona that occur in mountains nearer the Pacific Coast are grouped separately.
Many subspecies names have been given, but some are of debatable distinction. It is often difficult to know where to draw a line between them. Thus (for example) in Colorado at least five subspecies are usually recognized that blend with one another depending on location and elevation, but a sixth subspecies occurs there that usually behaves as if a different species. The norm for the E. anicia is that it looks a bit different (and sometimes quite different) every time you move to a new location. Also, where there are two broods, the spring flight sometimes looks a bit different from the later flight.
An attempt is made here to put the right subspecies name on the photos; however, since subspecies do blend into one another broadly, and since more than one subspecies occur together in some regions, the assignments given here may be a bit uncertain or arbitrary at times, and should be taken with a "grain of salt". This is especially true in areas of varied habitats and where subspecies displace one another over relatively short distances.