great spangled fritillary

(Speyeria cybele)

Conservation Status
great spangled fritillary
Photo by Margot Avey
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Great spangled fritillary is a large, long-lived, fritillary butterfly. The wingspan is 2½ to 3½.

The upperside of both wings are orange, orangish-brown toward the center, with black stripes, spots, and chevrons. On the outer margin there is a band (marginal band) of spots that have dark borders and are separated by heavy, dark veins. On most individuals all of the spots in this band on the forewing are orange and distinct, even at the wing tip. On some individuals the spots on the forewing band are brown or brownish tinged, especially toward the wing tip. The spots on the hindwing band are always orange, never black. There is a submarginal band of chevron-shaped black spots, a postmedial band of round black spots, and a medial band with black stripes. The wing veins of the middle portion of the forewing are bordered with black scales, making them appear thick.

The underside of the forewing is mostly orange, orangish-brown toward the center, with an orangish-brown marginal band, black markings mirroring those on the upperside, and a few small white spots near the tip.

The underside of the hindwing is reddish-brown, with a reddish-brown marginal band, a submarginal row of 7 silvery spots, a postmedial row of 6 large and 1 small silvery spots, and several silvery spots in the discal area. The two rows of spots are separated by a wide yellowish band. The yellowish band partially surrounds all of the postmedial spots.

The eyes are brownish-orange.

Females are larger and darker than males.

The caterpillar is mostly black and up to 2¼ long. The head is orange above, black below. Each abdominal segment has 5 branched, spike-like projections (scoli), one on the upper (dorsal) surface, and on each side one in the subdorsal area and one in the spiracular area. The lower half of all of the scoli are orange or tan. Mature caterpillars are found in May and June.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

2½ to 3½ wingspan

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Aphrodite fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite) is a slightly smaller butterfly, with a wingspan no more than 3¼. On most individuals all of the spots in marginal band of the upperside of the forewing, especially toward the wing tip, are black and indistinct, giving the appearance of a broad black border. The wing veins of the middle portion of the forewing are thin. There is an “extra” black spot at the base of the forewing. On the underside of the forewing the white spots at the tip are larger. The yellowish band separating the rows of silvery spots on the underside of the hindwing, if present, is narrow and does not surround any part of the large postmedial spots. The eyes are yellowish-green.

Atlantis fritillary (Speyeria atlantis) is a smaller butterfly. The outer band of the upper hindwing is mostly black.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Open woodlands, prairies, meadows, roadsides; prefers moist areas

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

One brood; mid June to early September

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Males emerge in mid-June or July, 2 to 4 weeks before the females. Mating occurs in open areas in July. Females lay eggs on or near violets in late summer. Males die in October, females in October or early September. The eggs hatch in the fall. The newly hatched caterpillars overwinter, not feeding until the spring.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Violet leaves

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Nectar of violets, thistles, and other large flowers.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 20, 21, 24, 29, 71.

 
  7/9/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common and widespread

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Papilionoidea (butterflies [excluding skippers])  
 

Family

Nymphalidae (brush-foots)  
 

Subfamily

Heliconiinae (longwings, fritillaries and silverspots)  
 

Tribe

Argynnini  
  Subtribe Argynnina  
 

Genus

Speyeria  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

Carpenter’s fritillary (Speyeria cybele carpenterii)

Charlotte’s spangled fritillary (Speyeria cybele charlottii)

Chermock’s fritillary (Speyeria cybele pseudocarpenteri)

great spangled fritillary (Speyeria cybele cybele)

great spangled fritillary (Speyeria cybele eileenae)

great spangled fritillary (Speyeria cybele novascotiae)

Krautwurm’s fritillary (Speyeria cybele krautwurmi)

Leto fritillary (Speyeria cybele leto)

Letona fritillary (Speyeria cybele letona)

Puget Sound fritillary (Speyeria cybele pugetensis)

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

great spangled fritillary

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Scolus

A spiny, branched projection from a larval body wall, the branches terminating with a single stiff, hair-like or bristle-like tip.

 

Spiracle

A small opening on the surface of an insect through which the insect breathes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Luciearl

 
    great spangled fritillary   great spangled fritillary  
 

Dan W. Andree

 
 

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterflies...

At the Twin Valley Prairie SNA. Late June 2020. They seemed to be the most abundant larger or noticeable species at that time. Filmed and photographed them… These images are from 4k video.

  great spangled fritillary  
           
        great spangled fritillary  
 

Margot Avey

 
    great spangled fritillary   great spangled fritillary  
 

Tom Baker

 
    great spangled fritillary   great spangled fritillary  
           
    great spangled fritillary   great spangled fritillary  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

Upper side

 
    great spangled fritillary   great spangled fritillary  
           
    great spangled fritillary   great spangled fritillary  
           
    great spangled fritillary   great spangled fritillary  
           
    great spangled fritillary   great spangled fritillary  
           
 

Underside

 
    great spangled fritillary   great spangled fritillary  
           
 

Krautwurm’s fritillary (Speyeria cybele krautwurmi), Scenic State Park

 
    great spangled fritillary      
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly  
 
About

Speyeria cybele

for info: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species?l=1675&chosen_state=50*Vermont

 
Speyeria cybele (Great Spangled Fritillary)
Allen Chartier
  Speyeria cybele (Great Spangled Fritillary)  
Great Spangled Fritillary
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
  Great Spangled Fritillary  
Great Spangled Fritillary
jt893x
  Great Spangled Fritillary  
     

 

slideshow

       
 
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Other Videos
 
  Great Spangled Fritillary August 31, 2013
Don Gagnon
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 2, 2013

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) Nectaring Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum), Sherborn Power Line, near Fessenden Field, Western Avenue, Sherborn, Massachusetts, Saturday morning, August 31, 2013, 11:03 AM / 11:44 AM - Canon PowerShot SX50 HS MVI_44363 / MVI_44386; 37 min.

 
  Great Spangled Fritillary nectaring
metapathogen
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Aug 1, 2011

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) , 7/15/11, Maryland

http://www.geochembio.com/biology/organisms/butterfly/

 
  Life Dances on the Smith River
Lynn Pritchett
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Aug 23, 2009

Along the banks of the Smith River, the nectar of sweet Joe-Pye-weed (Eupatorium purpureum) attracts and feeds a great spangled fritillary butterfly (Nymphalidae: Speyeria cybele cybele) Timothy Seaman performs "Samhradh, Samhradh (Trad.)", playing both hammer dulcimer and flute in this haunting melody from his album, "Wayfaring Stranger". This link to his website can help you to listen to more of his compositions.

 
  Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly feeding on purple coneflowers
PrettyWorld2011
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 7, 2011

http://www.InBloomThisWeek.com A Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly feeding on purple coneflowers (Echinacea) in slow motion video

 
  Nectaring Great Spangled Fritillaries - Clermont County, Ohio, USA
mangoverde2
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jun 9, 2010

Great Spangled Fritillaries nectaring on Common Milkweed in Clermont County, Ohio, USA. June 4, 2010.

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this insect.

 
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  Luciearl
8/1/2019

Location: Fairview Twp, Cass County

great spangled fritillary  
  Dan W. Andree
Late June 2020

Location: Twin Valley Prairie SNA

They seemed to be the most abundant larger or noticeable species at that time. Filmed and photographed them… These images are from 4k video.

great spangled fritillary  
  Margot Avey
8/20/2020

Location: Noerenberg Memorial Gardens - Three Rivers Park District, Crystal Bay, Lake Minnetonka MN

great spangled fritillary  
  Luciearl
8/1/2019

Location: Cass County

great spangled fritillary  
           
 
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