Variegated Fritillary - Euptoieta claudia
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 2.6-3.6 cm, dwarfs 2.0 cm or less. Wings angular, forewing tips truncate, not smoothly rounded. Uppersurface dull orange-brown with a pinkish sheen when fresh, with black marginal spots between veins; undersurface of hindwing mottled, with pale median and marginal patches, without silver spots.
Multiple flights, all year in southern Texas, March to December in Florida; spreading northward in spring and summer (Scott 1986). Mid-May to October in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978), mid-July to early September in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001), early June to late September in British Columbia (Pyle 2002).
Best determined by a combination of wings angular, forewing tips truncate, not smoothly rounded; uppersurface dull orange-brown with black marginal spots between veins, undersurface of hindwing mottled and lacking silver spots.
Southern US south in highlands to Argentina; also highlands of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica; regular immigrant north through most of US to southern Canada (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999); to 3810 m elevation in Colorado but rare above 2743 m (Scott and Scott 1978), to 2499 m elevation in southeastern British Columbia (Threatful 1988). In Montana, reported across much of the state (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993). Common to abundant in three-flight areas, uncommon to common in two-flight areas, rare to uncommon in one-flight areas (Glassberg 2001).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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Migratory; emigrants from south reach the north but probably do not breed (Scott 1986; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002).
Open areas, waste fields, grassland, prairie, pastures, thorn scrub, open woodland, montane meadows, rarely above treeline in alpine terrain (Emmel 1964; Scott and Scott 1978; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001). Habitat in Montana not described but probably similar.
Larval food plants include Boerhaavia, Desmodium, Linum (several species), Menispermum, Metastelma, Passiflora (several species), Plantago, Portulaca, Turnera, Sedum, and Viola (several species) (Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Agoseris, Allium, Apocynum, Arctium, Arnica, Asclepias, Bahia, Bidens, Carduus, Centaurea, Cirsium, Comandra, Convolvulus, Cosmos, Cryptantha, Delphinium, Echinacea, Erigeron, Eriogonum, Erysimum, Euphorbia, Gaillardia, Gaura, Geranium, Grindelia, Gutierrezia, Harbouria, Helianthus, Heterotheca, Hymenopappus, Lesquerella, Liatris, Linaria, Linum, Lobelia, Machaeranthera, Medicago, Melilotus, Monarda, Paeonia, Penstemon, Physocarpus, Polygonum, Psilostrophe, Psoralea, Pycnanthemum, Ratibida, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Sedum, Senecio, Solidago, Symphyotrichum, Tagetes, Taraxacum, Thlaspi, Townsendia, Trifolium, Verbena, Viola, Zinnia) and mud (Tooker et al. 2002; Scott 2014).
Females lay eggs singly (one report of 58 eggs total) on leaves and stems of host plants, both the undersurface and uppersurface (Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; James and Nunnallee 2011). Eggs hatch in 3 days (depending on temperature), rate of growth variable, duration from egg-hatch to pupation 19-27 days, adults eclose (emerge from pupae) in about 9 days. Larvae build no nests; L3 and L4 instars mostly rest on underside of leaves during day, feed nocturnally; L4 and L5 instars wander off host plant to bask in sun, return to feed at night; overwinters as adult in the south (Ferris and Brown 1981; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males patrol close to ground throughout the day and habitat in search of females (Scott 1975b, 1986).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Emmel, T.C. 1964. The ecology and distribution of butterflies in a montane community near Florissant, Colorado. American Midland Naturalist 72(2): 358-373.
- Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown (eds). 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountains. Univ. of Oklahoma Press. Norman. 442 pp.
- Glassberg, J. 2001. Butterflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Western North America. Oxford University Press.
- Guppy, C.S. and J.H. Shepard. 2001. Butterflies of British Columbia: including western Alberta, southern Yukon, the Alaska Panhandle, Washington, northern Oregon, northern Idaho, northwestern Montana. UBC Press (Vancouver, BC) and Royal British Columbia Museum (Victoria, BC). 414 pp.
- James, D.G. and D. Nunnallee. 2011. Life histories of Cascadia butterflies. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press. 447 p.
- Kohler, S. 1980. Checklist of Montana Butterflies (Rhopalocera). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 34(1): 1-19.
- Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Second edition. Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 540 pp.
- Pyle, R.M. 2002. The butterflies of Cascadia: a field guide to all the species of Washington, Oregon, and surrounding territories. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington. 420 pp.
- Scott, J.A. 1975b. Mate-locating behavior of western North American butterflies. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 14:1-40.
- Scott, J.A. 1986. The butterflies of North America: a natural history and field guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
- Scott, J.A. 1992. Hostplant records for butterflies and skippers (mostly from Colorado) 1959-1992, with new life histories and notes on oviposition, immatures, and ecology. Papilio new series #6. 185 p.
- Scott, J.A. 2006. Butterfly hostplant records, 1992-2005, with a treatise on the evolution of Erynnis, and a note on new terminology for mate-locating behavior. Papilio new series #14. 74 p.
- Scott, J.A. 2014. Lepidoptera of North America 13. Flower visitation by Colorado butterflies (40,615 records) with a review of the literature on pollination of Colorado plants and butterfly attraction (Lepidoptera: Hersperioidea and Papilionoidea). Contributions of the C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthopod Diversity. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University. 190 p.
- Scott, J.A. and G.R. Scott. 1978. Ecology and distribution of the butterflies of southern central Colorado. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 17(2): 73-128.
- Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies: including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Unpubl. Report. Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado 275 pp.
- Threatful, D.L. 1988. A list of the butterflies and skippers of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks, British Columbia, Canada (Lepidoptera). Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 27(3-4): 213-221.
- Tooker, J.F., P.F. Reagel, and L.M. Hanks. 2002. Nectar sources of day-flying lepidoptera of central Illinois. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 95(1): 84-96.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
Do you know of a citation we're missing?
- Allen, T.J., J.P. Brock, and J. Glassberg. 2005. Caterpillars in the field and garden: a field guide to the butterfly caterpillars of North America. Oxford University Press.
- Brock, J.P. and K. Kaufman. 2003. Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY 284 pp.
- Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. LaFontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press. 280 pp. + color plates.
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