North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Ohio

Meadow Fritillary (Boloria bellona)
JPG -- species photo

Meadow Fritillary (Boloria bellona [Fabricius])

Wing span: 1 3/8 - 2 inches (3.5 - 5.1 cm).

Identification: Forewing squared off below tip. Upperside orange-red with heavy black markings. Underside of hindwing patterned with orange and purple-brown; off-white basal patch and metallic silver spots lacking.

Life history: Males patrol meadows with a low flight, during warm daytime hours. Females lay eggs on twigs and plants other than the host violets. Caterpillars feed on violet leaves and hibernate when in the third to fourth stage of development.

Flight: Two to three broods from late April to mid-October.

Caterpillar hosts: Violets including northern white violet (Viola pallens) and woolly blue violet (V. sororia).

Adult food: Favorite nectar sources are composites, including black-eyed susans, dandelions, and ox-eyed daisy. Plants from other families, such as verbena and dogbane, are visited less often.

Habitat: Usually wet places: meadows, pastures, hayfields, bogs, marshes, wet aspen groves.

Range: Eastern British Columbia east through southern Canada and northern United States to Newfoundland; south to northcentral Oregon, central Colorado, northeast Tennessee, and northwest North Carolina. Due to its adaptability to disturbed habitats, the butterfly is expanding its range southward from the southeastern states.

Conservation: Not usually of conservation concern.

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:

Iftner, D.C., Shuey, J.A. and Calhoun, J.V.  1992.  Butterflies and Skippers 
     of Ohio.  Bulletin of the Ohio Biological Survey 9:1-212.  

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.     
Meadow Fritillary (Boloria bellona)
distribution map
map legend

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