Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Calendar
Upcoming Events

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington

TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Tribe Argynnini - Fritillaries

Variegated Fritillary-Profile View - Euptoieta claudia SIlver-bordered Fritillary - Boloria freija Atlantis Fritillary - Speyeria atlantis Edward's Fritillary - Speyeria aphrodite - male Speyeria mormonia? - Speyeria mormonia - female Fritillary (side views - Speyeria cybele - female Variegated Fritillary - Euptoieta claudia  Great Spangled Fritillary? - Speyeria cybele
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)
Identification
Once known, Fritillaries are mostly recognizable on sight. Small to large butterflies, with mostly orange uppersides patterned with black lines, dashes and spots. The underside is patterned similarly on the front wings, but the hindwings are usually crossbanded or striated with pale and dark, or may have prominent, often silvered light spots. The antennae have wide relatively flattened clubs. A few large species deviate from the basic pattern, but all are highly distinctive in appearance, and cannot easily be confused with anything else.
Most Crescents and Checkerspots (Melitaeini) are somewhat similar, but all are small in size. None have a row of rounded dark postmedian spots on the front wings as do Fritillaries, and most lack similar rounded spots on the hind wings as well. Even though not particularly closely related, they are also called Fritillaries in Europe, but not generally so in North America.
The caterpillars are typical of Nymphalidae, appearing spiny, with rows of branched "scoli" (elongate conical projections with shorter side branches). In this subfamily there are is no mid-dorsal row of scoli, only paired lateral rows. The head is basically smooth with no prominent scoli or horns; however, the pair of scoli just back of the head may be elongated and project forward over the head.
The pupae are easily confused with those of some of the Nymphalinae, being relatively rounded with the head end rounded or with two blunt points. There are paired rows of pointed conical projections on the dorsal side, but there is no mid-dorsal row. Often the projections are metalic gold, silver, or reddish, and often there are patches of metalic elsewhere; or, in some species the entire surface may be somewhat metalic. Many species pupate near or even on the ground, sometimes lying among debris, but most often hanging from some low well hidded support.
Range
Worldwide, but primarily in Eurasia and North America, represented further south by few genera and species, mostly in high mountains.
Habitat
Primarily open sunny meadow areas where hostplants grow and flowers (particularly Asteraceae) are abundant.
Food
Primarily Violets (Viola), but occasionally other plants mostly in related families such as Salicaceae, Linaceae, Turneraceae, and Passifloraceae. A few are recorded to feed on Asteraceae, Polygonaceae, and Ericaceae.
Adults are avid flower visitors, and especially seem fond of Ironweed, Thistles, and various yellow-flowering Composites.
Life Cycle
Most have one brood of adults per season, usually in spring or early summer, but a few are later, flying into autumn. Euptoieta occurs in multiple broods. Overwintering is primarily as young larvae, but in Euptoieta may be in any stage in mild climates.
Remarks
These are active butterflies that tend to fly about constantly, and would be very difficult to observe if they weren't so fond of stopping at flowers. They are often associated with mountain meadows and are a familiar sight to anyone who spends summers in such places.

Euptoieta is an odd bedfollow in this tribe, and has similarities also with the Old World tribe Vagrantini, and perhaps with the South American genus Yramea. It is traditionally included with the Argynnini, but may eventually be found to be better placed elsewhere. The Vagrantini has only relatively recently been recognized as separate from the Argynnini.