North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Massachusetts

Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite)
JPG -- species photo

Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite [Fabricius])

Wing span: 2 1/2 - 3 1/4 inches (6.3 - 8.3 cm).

Identification: Geographically variable. Upperside reddish orange-brown; male forewing with black spot below cell and with no black scales on veins. Underside of hindwing has pale submarginal band narrow or missing.

Life history: Males patrol for females during warm hours. Females walk about on the ground to lay single eggs near violets. First-stage caterpillars do not feed, but overwinter until spring, when they eat young leaves of violets.

Flight: One brood from mid-June to mid-September.

Caterpillar hosts: Various violet species including northern downy violet (Viola fimbriatula) and lance-leaved violet (V. lanceolata).

Adult food: Nectar from flowers of milkweed and viper's bugloss, among others.

Habitat: Moist prairies, high mountain meadows, openings in barrens, brushland, dry fields, open oak woods, bogs.

Range: Canada south of the taiga from Nova Scotia west through the northern Midwest and Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains, then south in the mountains to east-central Arizona and northern New Mexico; south in the Appalachians to northern Georgia.

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:

Glassberg,  J.  1993.  Butterflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to 
     Butterflies in the Boston-New York-Washington Region.  Oxford Univ. 
     Press, New York, N.Y.  160 pp. 

Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998.  The Butterflies of 
     Canada.  University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON.  280 pp. 
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format.
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.     
Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite)
distribution map
map legend

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