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Genus Euptoieta

Variegated Fritillary - Euptoieta claudia Black and White with metallic spikes - Euptoieta claudia Unkn caterpillar - Euptoieta claudia Butterfly  - Euptoieta claudia Chrysalis - Euptoieta claudia Euptoieta claudia? - Euptoieta claudia Mexican Fritillary - Euptoieta hegesia Euptoieta claudia - Variegated Fritillary - Euptoieta claudia
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)
Subfamily Heliconiinae (Heliconians and Fritillaries)
Tribe Argynnini (Fritillaries)
Genus Euptoieta
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Euptoieta E. Doubleday, 1848. Type species: Papilio claudia Cramer

[note from David Ferguson, December 2012:] While currently and traditionally placed within the tribe Argynnini with other Fritillaries, this genus shows a great deal of similarity in coloration, adult and immature morphology, and behavior to members of the closely related Old World tribe Vagrantini (i.e. genera Cupha, Lachnoptera, Phalanta, Vagrans, etc.), and may be shown by future study to be more closely related to members of that tribe. The Vagrantini has only relatively recently been recognized as separate from the Argynnini.
Numbers
Euptoieta contains four or more species, depending upon interpretation of various authors. Two widespread species (E. claudia & E. hegasia) reach into North America north of Mexico, and two more (E. peridistincta & E. sunides) are found only in northwestern South America.
Identification
Medium-large butterflies with a distinctive wing shape, and orange pattern with black markings above. Below they are pale dull brownish with cream marbling. Most easily confused with similar-sized Fritillaries of genus Speyeria, which have rounded pale (usually silvered) spots below, and have a prominent row of blackish crescent-shaped spots along the margins of the wings (a relatively straight line instead in Euptoieta. Other similar-sized orange butterflies (i.e. Painted Ladies) have distinctly different color patterns. Checkerspots and Crescents are much smaller. Orange "Long-wings" have longer, narrower wings, and again distinctly different patterns (Gulf Fritillary is moderately similar, but with mostly black spots instead of lines above and with silvered spots below).
White, orange and black larvae possess a pair of almost antennae-like "horns" or "spines" that usually project forward over the head. These are longer than the others on the body. They are often stated to be borne on the head, but they are not; they are actually from the prothorax right behind the head, and this can be very helpful in identifying them. They also have no spines down the middle of the back (true of all in the the subfamilies Heliconiinae and Limenitidinae, but not most others in the family Nymphalidae). Many other Fritillary (and kin) caterpillars have this pair of spines elongated, but in North America apparently the only other species for which this is true is Boloria selene.
Pupa are relatively rounded in shape, shiny smooth greenish to cream colored with black spots, and with four rows of metallic gold to orange cone-shaped spines. Other similar pupae are differently colored, or they look less metallic and have a middle row of spines (with three or five rows).
Range
An American genus, found from Canada to Argentina.
Life Cycle
Primarily use plants in the closely related families Violaceae and Passifloraceae.