Diet The Great Spangled Fritillary flies swiftly but pauses to
take nectar from black-eyed Susans, thistles, and other
Life Cycle Females of this and most other fritillaries
mate in June or July, but many of them disappear, perhaps
hiding under leaves or bark, to reappear in late August and
September, when they lay their eggs near violets. By this time,
the shorter-lived males, which have emerged from
Chrysalises a few days or weeks earlier than females, are
scarce. Tiny caterpillar overwinters after hatching from pale
brown egg. Caterpillar black with branching spines that are
orange at base; feeds on violets. Chrysalis mottled dark
brown. One brood; June to mid-September.
Discussion Eastern populations are large, rounded,
tawny, and common. In the West, this species occurs more
rarely; some lepidopterists make it a separate species, the
Great Spangled Fritillary
Description 2 1/8 - 3" Above, orange with 5 black dashes
near FW base; several black dashes near HW base, irregular
black band in middle of wing followed by row of black dots,
plus 2 rows of black crescents, the outer in a line along
Below, FW yellowish-orange with black marks similar to
upperside and a few silver spots near tip; HW reddish-brown
with silver spots on base and middle of wing, and broad
yellow band and silver triangles next to brown margin.
Female darker above, especially at base. Western male
brighter orange with more pointed FW; female straw-colored
outwardly, black at base.
Habitat Moist meadows and deciduous woods in East;
also moist pine and oak woods, conifer forest openings, and
west meadows in West.
Range S. British Columbia, s. Quebec and Maritimes
south to central California, New Mexico, and n. Georgia.