Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
MT Gov Logo
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Freija Fritillary - Boloria freija

Potential Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3S5

Agency Status

External Links

General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Glassberg 2001; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.7-2.0 cm. Upper wing surfaces orange-brown with black markings and a black border chain; darker at wing bases. Underside of hindwing with off-white patch near base of costal margin, a central white triangular spot in the median row on the under hindwing (the spot tip almost touching the postmedian white band), a series of horizontal white marginal bars (sometimes arrowhead-shaped).

One flight; late May to early July in Colorado, mid-May to mid-June in Alberta and Saskatchewan, June to mid-July in the Arctic (mid-June to mid-August in Labrador) (Scott 1986). Late April to late August in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Distinguished by the central white triangular spot in the median row on the under hindwing (the spot tip almost touching the postmedian white band), and the series of horizontal white marginal bars (sometimes arrowhead-shaped).

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Holarctic. In North America, throughout boreal and arctic Alaska, Canada, and adjacent regions of the US in the Great Lakes region, south in the Cascades to extreme northcentral Washington and in the Rocky Mountains to northern New Mexico (Scott 1986; Glasberg 2001; Pyle 2002). Reported between 2590-3660 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957). In Montana, reported from the high mountains in the southwestern quarter of Montana (Beaverhead, Carbon, Gallatin, Madison, Sweetwater counties) and in Glacier County in northwestern Montana (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database; MNHP), between 2393-2883 m elevation. Locally common (Glassberg 2001).


Moist edges of willow bogs and streams, montane meadows, forest openings, above or beyond treeline in moist alpine or arctic terrain (Scott 1986, 1992; Pyle 2002). Subalpine willow bogs in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (Debinski and Pritchard 2002).

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 Arctostaphylos, Dryas, Empetrum, Rhododendron, Polygonum, Potentilla, Rubus, Sieversia, various Vaccinium, and Viola (Scott 1986, 1992; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar (Arnica, Caltha, Draba, Oreoxis, Pulsatilla, Salix) as well as mud (Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs singly or in small clusters low on green leaves on or near host plant. Eggs hatch in about 6 days (depending on temperature) and can reach L2 instar in another 4 days. L2 and L3 instars occupy another 8 days each. Larvae are solitary and build no nests; most feeding is nocturnal, larvae rest exposed when not feeding. Larvae overwinter (diapause) as mature L4 instars. Upon exit from diapause L4 instars molt to L5, then pupate in another 1-3 days. Adults eclose (exit pupae) in about 10-12 days, depending on temperature (Scott 1992; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males patrol throughout the day near host plants, at the edges of bogs or streams and often on hillsides, to encounter females (Scott 1975b, 1986; James and Nunnallee 2011).

Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
Freija Fritillary — Boloria freija.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from