Mormon Fritillary - Speyeria mormonia
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 2.3-2.7 cm. Small; forewing apex rounded, antennae clubs relatively large and rounded. Uppersurface orange or tawny-ochre with black markings, black marginal chains enclosing pale spots, forewing without black scaling on veins; undersurface pale, hindwing disk pale yellow to pale brown, sometimes tinged with green or strong green tones; spots on hindwing relatively small, silvered or pale yellow.
One flight, mid-July to early September in the south, July to August in the north (Scott 1986). Mainly July to August, but June to September in California (Glassberg 2001); mid-July to early September in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001); early June to mid-October in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002).
Best determined by a combination of small size, rounded forewing apex, uppersurface of forewing without black scaling on veins, pale undersurface ground color with relatively small silver or pale spots on hindwing.
Western mountains, from south-central Alaska south and east to Manitoba and the Dakotas (including the Black Hills), south to central California, eastern Nevada, southeastern Arizona, and northern New Mexico (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); to at least 3962 m elevation in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978), 2300 m elevation in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001). In Montana, reported from the western 2/3 of the state (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993), to at least 3300 m elevation in the Beartooth Mountains (Hendricks 1986). Mainly common to abundant (Glassberg 2001).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
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Non-migratory, but may fly far and stray from montane areas to foothills and plains (Scott and Scott 1978; Scott 1986).
Exposed montane meadows, wet or boggy meadows, forest edges, moist prairie, sagebrush, above treeline in alpine terrain (Ferris and Brown 1981; Hammond 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). In Glacier National Park, Montana reported from montane xeric and mesic meadows, and above treeline in alpine terrain (Debinski 1993); in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in alpine tundra and fellfield (Hendricks 1986; Debinski and Pritchard 2002).
Larval food plants include several species of Viola (Hammond 1981; Scott 1986; Guppy and Shepard 2001; James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Achillea, Agoseris, Arenaria, Arnica, Aster, Carduus, Chrysothamnus, Dryas, Erigeron, Eriogonum, Gaillardia, Geranium, Haplopappus, Heterotheca, Hymenoxys, Medicago, Potentilla, Rudbeckia, Senecio, Solidago, Taraxacum, Trifolium) and mud (Scott 1986, 2014).
Females lay eggs singly and haphazardly on dead stems, undersides of dried leaves, close to the ground, in litter near the host plant or on another plant species (Scott 1992, 2006). Eggs hatch in about 10 days (depending on temperature), L1 instar seeks refuge in curled host plant leaves and overwinter. Development from L2 instar to L6 and pupation takes about 44 days; adults eclose (emerge from pupae) in about another 18 days (depending on temperature). Larvae mostly nocturnal, build no nests; mature larvae silk leaves together to create tents, where pupation occurs close to the ground (Scott 1986; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males patrol throughout the day in open areas (meadows at lower elevations) near the ground in search of females (Scott 1975b, 1986).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- 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.
- Hammond, P.C. 1981. The colonization of violets and Speyeria butterflies on ash-pumice fields deposited by Cascadian volcanoes. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 20(3): 179-191.
- Hendricks, P. 1986. Avian predation of alpine butterflies. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 40(2): 129.
- 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.
- 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.
- Caruthers, J.C., and D. Debinski. 2006. Montane meadow butterfly species distributions in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. University of Wyoming National Park Service Research Center Annual Report, 2006. Vol. 30, Art. 14. 85-96.
- Debinski, D.M., J.C. Caruthers, D. Cook, J. Crowley, and H. Wickham. 2013. Gradient-based habitat affinities predict species vulnerability to drought. Ecology 94(5): 1036-1045.
- Debinski, D.M., R.E. VanNimwegen, and M.E. Jakubauskas. 2006. Quantifying relationships between bird and butterfly community shifts and environmental change. Ecological Applications 16(1): 380-393.
- 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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