Wing span: 1 5/8 - 2 /12 inches (4.4 - 6.3 cm).
Upperside is bright orange-brown; summer form has hindwing with a wide dark border, winter form has the border covering only about 1/4 of the wing; both enclosing a few small yellow spots. Underside is charcoal gray with fine dark striations; forewing with 3-4 light chevrons in a dark border. Silver mark in center of hindwing is small, slender, and L-shaped.
Northwest Territories and British Columbia south along Pacific coast to central California, southeast through Montana, Utah, Colorado, and the Dakotas to eastern Nebraska, central Kansas, and central Arkansas; east through southern Canada and the northern United States to Maine and the Maritimes; south in the Appalachians to North Carolina.
Along dirt roads, along streamsides, and within clearings in rich deciduous or confierous woods, in aspen parks, yards, and gardens. Often in hilly terrain or canyons.
Caterpillar hosts: Gooseberries (Ribes) and azalea (Rhododendron).
Adult food: Sap; rarely flower nectar.
Two flights: In April and May the winter form emerges from hibernation, mates, and lays eggs which develop into the summer generation. Summer adults fly from June-August, laying eggs of the winter generation which appears in October and then hibernates.
In midafternoon, males perch on trees or shrubs at the edges of clearings to wait for females. Eggs are laid singly on leaves of host plants; the caterpillars feed underneath. Adults overwinter.