Great Spangled Fritillary - Speyeria cybele
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 3.5-4.7 cm. One of the largest great fritillaries. Eyes yellow-green. Upperside of males tan to orange with black spotting (lighter black spotting especially near wing borders) and black scales on forewing veins, females tawny and darker than males; underside of wings with a wide cream-colored submarginal band, on females the band between postmedian silver spots and submarginal silver spots, on males with a cinnamon disk basal to the pale submarginal band.
One flight; mostly mid-June to mid-September, primarily July to August in the west (Scott 1986); late June to late August in southern British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001); early June to early September in the Pacific Northwest (Pyle 2002).
Best distinguished by size, yellow-green eyes, and underside of hindwings with a wide cream-colored submarginal band.
British Columbia east across southern Canada to Nova Scotia, south to central California (Sierra Nevada), northern New Mexico (Rocky Mountains), central Arkansas, and northern Georgia (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); to 1000 m elevation in southern British Columbia (Guppy and Dhepard 2001), to 2745 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957). State wide in Montana (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993). Locally common to common in the west south to Oregon, Idaho, and Montana; rare to uncommon southward (Glassberg 2001).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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Moist deciduous woods, meadows, oak-pine glades, riparian areas, post-glacial grasslands, aspen parkland (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002). Xeric montane meadows in Glacier National Park, Montana (Debinski 1993); meadows, streamsides, prairies, roadsides, aspen stands in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (Debinski and Pritchard 2002).
Larval food plants include several species of Viola (Scott 1986, 1992; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Agastache, Apocynum, Asclepias, Buddleja, Carduus, Cirsium, Echinacea, Erigeron, Helianthus, Medicago, Monarda, Nepeta, Trifolium), dung, and tree sap (from surface of Quercus leaves) (Scott 1986, 2014: Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011).
Females lay eggs singly and haphazardly near base of dead or dying host plant, mostly in late summer. Eggs hatch in 10-12 days (depending on temperature), then L1 larvae congregate under cover and diapause (overwinter). Post diapause development from L1 to pupation averages 44 days (females about 7 days longer than males); adults eclose (emerge from pupae) in 13-19 days. Larvae feed at night and solitarily, seeking cover during day under leaves, rocks, other debris; larvae do not make nests (Scott 1986; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males patrol throughout the day seeking females (Scott 1986).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Brown, F.M. 1957. Colorado Butterflies. Proceedings; Numbers Three through Seven. Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver, Co.
- Debinski, D. 1993. Butterflies of Glacier National Park, Montana. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History, the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. No. 159: 1-13.
- Debinski, D.M. and J.A. Pritchard. 2002. A field guide to the butterflies of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Lanham, MD: Roberts Rinehart Publishers. 107 p.
- 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.
- 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. 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. 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.
- 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.
- Williams, E.H. 1995. Fire-Burned Habitat and Reintroduction of the Butterfly Euphydryas Gillettii (Nymphalidae). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 49: 183-191.
- Williams, E.H. and M.D. Bowers. 1987. Factors Affecting Host Plant Use by the Montane Butterfly Euphydryas Gillettii (Nymphalidae). American Midland Naturalist 118(1): 153-161.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- 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.
- Opler, P.A., K. Lotts, and T. Naberhaus, coordinators. 2010. Butterflies and moths of North America. Big Sky Institute, Bozeman, MT. Available at: www.butterfliesandmoths.org (Accessed 15 June 2015).
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