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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Frigga Fritillary - Boloria frigga

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1S2

Agency Status

External Links

General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Glassberg 2001; Guppy and Shepard 2001] Forewing 1.9-2.3 cm. Upper surface of wings yellow-orange to orange-brown with black markings, the basal half of wings mostly blackish, discal cell end-bar on forewing solid black. Underside of hindwing pink-frosted on the outer 1/3 to deep purplish, with prominent off-white to silver oblong patch near base of coastal margin.

One flight; mostly June to July (July to early August in Labrador) (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986); late May to mid-July but only one week at any locality (Glassberg 2001); late May to late July in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best distinguished by a combination of the basal half of dorsal wing surface mostly blackish, discal cell end-bar on forewing solid black; underside of hindwing pink-frosted on the outer 1/3 to deep purplish, prominent off-white to silver oblong patch near base of coastal margin.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Holarctic. In North America, throughout boreal and arctic Alaska and Canada east to Labrador, south in the Midwestern US to the Great Lakes region, with isolated populations in the Rocky Mountains south of Canada to Wyoming and south central Colorado (Scott 1986; Glassberg 2001); between 2593-3355 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957; Ferris and Brown 1981) Not documented in Montana prior to 1993 (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993), now reported from Beaverhead, Gallatin and Madison Counties in the southwest, Glacier County in the northwest (Glassberg 2001; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database; MNHP); between 2040-2680 m elevation.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 3

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)


Shrub willow bogs, spruce bogs, true sphagnum bogs, arctic tundra (Ferris and Brown 1981; Shepard 1986; Glassberg 2001; Guppy and Shepard 2001). Habitat in Montana not reported.

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
  • Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
    How Associations Were Made
    We associated the use and habitat quality (common or occasional) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
    1. Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2012, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
    2. Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species' range and habitat requirements;
    3. Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point observation database associated with each ecological system;
    4. Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of "observations versus availability of habitat".
    Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.  In general, species were listed as associated with an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.  However, species were not listed as associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if point observations were associated with that system.  Common versus occasional association with an ecological system was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species as represented in scientific literature.  The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignment of common versus occasional association.  If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact the Montana Natural Heritage Program's Senior Zoologist.

    Suggested Uses and Limitations
    Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.  These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.  Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.  Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.  Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).  Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species' known geographic range.

    Literature Cited
    • Adams, R.A.  2003.  Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation.  Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.  289 p.
    • Dobkin, D. S.  1992.  Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34.  Missoula, MT.
    • Foresman, K.R.  2012.  Mammals of Montana.  Second edition.  Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana.  429 pp.
    • Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998.  Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates.  Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.  1302 p.
    • Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young.  1999.  Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32.  72 p.
    • Maxell, B.A.  2000.  Management of Montana's amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species.  Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1.  Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana.  161 p.
    • Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath.  2004.  Amphibians and reptiles of Montana.  Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.

Food Habits
Larval food plants include Betula, Dryas, Rubus, and Salix (probably the main host plant genus in the Rocky Mountains) (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986, 1992; Guppy and Shepard 2001). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Cardamine, Pedicularis, Polygonum, Salix, Sedum, Valeriana) and mud (Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Limited information. Females lay eggs singly on or near host plants (often on sedges) on the undersides of dead leaves or twigs. Rate of larval development not reported. Overwinters as L4 instar (Scott 1986, 1992). Males patrol thoughout the day in low spots of willow bogs as they search for females (Scott 1975b, 1986).

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Citation for data on this website:
Frigga Fritillary — Boloria frigga.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from