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Butterflies of California -- Speyeria hesperis

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of California

Northwestern Fritillary (Speyeria hesperis)
JPG -- species photo

Northwestern Fritillary (Speyeria hesperis [W.H. Edwards])

Wing span: 2 - 2 3/4 inches (5 - 7 cm).

Identification: Quite variable. Upperside orange-brown, often darker at base, with black outer margins especially on forewing; male has black scales on veins. Underside of hindwing with basal disk or light brown orange-brown with pale submarginal band; spots silvered or unsilvered.

Life history: Males patrol during the day in open areas. Eggs are laid singly on leaf litter near host plant. Unfed first-stage caterpillars overwinter, emerging in spring to feed on leaves.

Flight: One flight from June-October, mainly July-August.

Caterpillar hosts: Violets.

Adult food: Flower nectar including Gaillardia, rabbitbrush, purple mints, and shrub cinquefoil.

Habitat: Forest openings, meadows, and open hillsides.

Range: Western mountains from central western Alaska, Yukon, and Northwest Territories south to central California, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Conservation: Not usually of conservation concern. Subspecies elko Austin and hanseni Emmel and Emmel are of conservation concern because of their small ranges. The former may be threatened by invasive alien weeds including smooth brome and/or cheatgrass.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Management needs: None reported.

References:

Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown. 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. 
     University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 442 pages.

Garth, J.S. and J.W. Tilden. 1986.California Butterflies. University of California 
     Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles. 246 pp, 24 plates.

Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. Lafontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. 
     University of Toronto Press, Toronto. 282 pages, 32 color plates.

Opler, P.A. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies.  Houghton-Mifflin Co., 
     Boston, Mass. 540 pages, 44 color plates.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, 
     Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.

Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies including 
     adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Denver and Fort Collins, CO. 

Author: Paul A. Opler

State and Regional References:

Brown, J.W., Real, H.G., and D.K. Faulkner. 1992. Butterflies of Baja 
     California. Lepidoptera Research Foundation, Beverly Hills, Calif.

Comstock, J.A. 1927. Butterflies of California. Privately published, Los 
     Angeles, Calif. [Facsimile available from 	Entomological Reprint 
     Specialists, Los Angeles, Calif.]

Dameron, W. 1997. Searching for butterflies in southern California.
     Flutterby Press, Los Angeles, Calif.

Emmel, T.C. Editor. 1998. Systematics of western North American butterflies.
     Mariposa Press, Gainesville, Florida.

Emmel, T. C. and J. F. Emmel. 1973. The Butterflies of Southern California. 
     Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Science Series No. 26.

Garth, J.S. and J.W. Tilden. 1986. California Butterflies.  California Natural
     History Guide 51. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los 
     Angeles.
     
Langston, R.L. 1981. The Rhopalocera of Santa Cruz Island, California. Journal
     of Research on the Lepidoptera 18: 24-35.     

Miller, Scott E. 1985. Butterflies of the Califorenia Channel Islands. Journal
     of the Research on the Lepidoptera 23: 282-296.     

Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised 
     edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.

Orsak, L.J. 1977. The Butterflies of Orange County, California. Museum of 
     Systematic Biology, University of california, Irvine.

Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. 
     Privately published, Denver, Colo.

Steiner, J. 1990. Bay Area Butterflies: The Distribution and Natural History 
     of San Francisco Region Rhopalocera. Hayward, Calif.: Hayward State 
     University, Masters Thesis.

Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. 
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.

Tilden, J.W. 1965. Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay Region. California 
     Natural History Guide 12. University of California Press, Berkeley and 
     Los Angeles.
Northwestern Fritillary (Speyeria hesperis)
distribution map
map legend

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