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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Meadow Fritillary - Boloria bellona

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status


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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 2.2-2.5 cm. The forewing outer margin angled and cutoff (truncated as if clipped). Uppersurface yellow-orange with a heavy black pattern, submarginal brown triangles on hindwing point inward; undersurface of the hindwing mottled purple-brown, with a plough-shaped costal patch at base, and lacking a strong postmedian band.

Three flights in the southeast, mid-May to early September; two flights in central Alberta and Quebec, late May to August; one flight in Colorado, mid-June to July; one flight in Washington late May to early July (Scott 1986). One flight early May to late August in Washington (Pyle 2002); one or two flights in British Columbia, late May to late August (Guppy and Shepard 2001); two flights, May to early September at most locations (with a single flight at higher elevations), one flight June to July in the Pacific Northwest (Glassberg 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by a combination of the outer forewing margin squared-off or coming to a shallow point (truncated, not smoothly rounded), upper surface of hindwing without a black border.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Northen British Columbia east across boreal Canada to Labrador and Quebec, the upper Midwest and New England and south to Georgia, south in the west to northeastern Oregon and in the Rocky Mountains to southwestern Colorado (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999); to at least 2745 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957), 1525 m elevation in Washington (Pyle 2002; Pfeiler 2013). In Montana, reported from several counties in the northwestern and north-central part of the state (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993), south to Gallatin County. Locally rare to locally uncommon in the west, but localy common in Saskatchewan (Glassberg 2001).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1

(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)


Moist montane meadows, aspen parkland, willow thickets, sagebrush, pine woodland, Palouse prairie, tallgrass prairie, streamsides (Brown 1957; Scott 1986; Swengel 1997; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002). Habitat in Montana not described.

Food Habits
Larval food plants include several species of Viola (Scott 1986, 1992; Swengel 1997; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002). Adults feed on flower nectar, including Penstemon and Senecio (Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay as many as 85 eggs singly and haphazardly on twigs, grass stems and various other plants, infrequently on the larval host plant (Scott 1986, 1992; James and Nunnallee 2011). Eggs hatch in 5-7 days (depending on temperature), pupate as L5 instars in about 17-20 days after hatching, with another 7-14 days for adults to emerge (eclose) from pupae. Larvae feed at night, do not build nests, and rest under cover; overwinters (hibernates) as L4 instar (James and Nunallee 2011). Males patrol throughout the day in meadows and in openings along streams in search of females (Scott 1986; James and Nunnallee 2011).

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