Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele [Fabricius])
Wing span: 2 1/2 - 4 inches (6.3 - 10.1 cm).
Identification: Large. Upperside of male tan to orange with black scales on forewing veins; female tawny, darker than male. Underside of hindwing with wide pale submarginal band and large silver spots.
Life history: Males patrol open areas for females. Eggs are laid in late summer on or near host violets. Newly-hatched caterpillars do not feed, but overwinter until spring, when they eat young violet leaves.
Flight: One brood from mid-June to mid-September.
Caterpillar hosts: Various violet species (Viola).
Adult food: Nectar from many species of flowers including milkweeds, thistles, ironweed, dogbane, mountain laurel, verbena, vetch, bergamot, red clover, joe-pye weed, and purple coneflower.
Habitat: Open, moist places including fields, valleys, pastures, right-of-ways, meadows, open woodland, prairies.
Range: Alberta east to Nova Scotia, south to central California, New Mexico, central Arkansas, and northern Georgia.
Comments: The most common fritillary throughout most of the eastern United States.
Conservation: Not usually required.
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.
Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates. Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates. Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. Sedman, Y. and Hess, D.F. 1985. The Butterflies of West Central Illionois. Series in the Biological Sciences No. 11. Western Illinois Univ., Macomb, IL. 118 pp.