Species Boloria chariclea - Purplish Fritillary - Hodges#4475
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 Boloria (Lesser Fritillaries)
Species chariclea (Purplish Fritillary - Hodges#4475)
Other Common Names
Purple Lesser Fritillary (subspecies B. c. grandis widespread in the north)
White Mountain Fritillary (subspecies B. c. montinus in New Hampshire)
some other subspecies have been given common names - see list at The International Lepidoptera Survey
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Papilio chariclea Schneider, 1794. Type locality: Lappland
Boloria chariclea (Schneider)
Clossiana chariclea (Schneider)
Explanation of Names
as a subspecies, following the classification of Opler and Warren
and All-Leps (see discussion
in Taxonomy Forum). Many authors consider B. montinus
to represent a distinct more southerly species, and some still use the Eurasian name B. titania
for this "other species". In this sense B. chariclea
is more northerly in distribution. There is some merit to this separation, as the two types overlap in distribution and sometimes occur in the same area while remaining distinctly different. The names boisduvalii, grandis, and rainieri
belong to the more southerly type.
While the subspecies helena & ingens are generally asigned to the southern "montinus type", they are rather distinctive, resemble the more northern "Arctic type" in some ways, and could perhaps be considered to make up yet a third "type".
9 subspecies listed at All-Leps
, with subspecies chariclea
occurring only in the Old World
wingspan 31-39 mm in United States (nearctica.com
); 32-44 mm in Canada (CBIF
Adult: upperside of wings orange with black spots, bars, and chevron-shaped markings, similar to many other Lesser Fritillaries.
The hindwing underside of the two boreal forest subspecies (grandis and rainieri) is purplish or reddish-brown with a broken yellowish to rust-colored band across the wing; it has white marginal spots capped with black chevron-shaped marks and a row of black spots above these.
The hindwing underside of the two tundra subspecies (arctica and butleri) has a distinct white band (sometimes silvered) across the middle, and the black submarginal spots and chevron marks are reduced or absent.
The New Hampshire subspecies montinus is dark rusty brown with no purplish markings.
Larva: body gray with black stripes and orange spines
Alaska and all of Canada, including arctic islands; extends into the continental US in Maine, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Washington state, and south in the Rockies to New Mexico (see distribution maps for Canada
and continental United States
Varies according to subspecies and location, but includes arctic tundra, taiga (boreal forest), acid bogs, and moist alpine meadows.
Adults fly from June to August (one brood).
Larvae feed on scrub willow, violets, Western Bistort (Polygonum bistortoides), and blueberry.
It takes two years to develop in the colder parts of its range, but can be found every year in most areas.
In the arctic, the western mountains, and in some bogs, it is the most abundant Lesser Fritillary.
In New Hampshire, there's no mistaking this species for any other fritillary, because of its geographic location atop Mount Washington and several other peaks in the White Mountains.
In Canada and the western US, the Freija Fritillary (Boloria freija
) has a black-and-white scalloped band and an elongate white triangular patch on the hindwing underside (see two images
Other Lesser Fritillaries
have different markings on the hindwing underside
pinned adult images
plus description, biology, flight season, larval and adult food, habitat, US distribution map (nearctica.com)
live adult image
by Paul Opler, plus same text and map as at nearctica.com site above (butterfliesandmoths.org)
pinned adult image
plus description, subspecies, distribution, foodplants, flight season, habitat, remarks (Butterflies of Canada, CBIF)
links to live adult images of subspecies montinus
in New Hampshire (Barbara Spencer, Massachusetts)
|1.||Butterflies of North America (Kaufman Focus Guides)|
Jim P. Brock, Kenn Kaufman. 2003. Houghton Mifflin Co.
|3.||Butterflies of the East Coast : An Observer's Guide|
Rick Cech, Guy Tudor. 2005. Princeton University Press.
|5.||Butterflies of British Columbia|
Crispin S. Guppy, Jon H. Shepard. 2001. UBC Press.