regal fritillary

(Speyeria idalia)

Conservation Status
regal fritillary
Photo by Dan W. Andree
  IUCN Red List

not listed

 
  NatureServe

N3 - Vulnerable

S3 - Vulnerable

 
  Minnesota

Special Concern

 
           
           
 
Description
 
 

 

 
     
 

Size

 
 

2 to 4 wingspan

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Tall grass prairie, wet fields, meadows, marshes.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

One brood: mid-June to early September.

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

In Minnesota, mostly prairie violet (Viola pedatifida var. pedatifida), but also birdfoot violet (Viola pedata) and possibly northern bog violet is (Viola nephrophylla).

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Nectar from flowers of milkweed, thistle, red clover, and mountain mint.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

6, 7, 20, 21, 24, 29, 30, 71, 75, 82.

 
  2/13/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Uncommon

 
         
 
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  
 

Genus

Speyeria  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Argynnis idalia

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

regal fritillary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Nancy Falkum

 
 

Blazing Star, Rough w/Regal Fritillary

 
    rough blazing star      
 

Dan W. Andree

 
 

Male Regal Fritillary down in the grass...

It was a hard angle to try capture this male regal fritillary. It kind of crawled around and paused. A breeze blowing grasses made it difficult to get a clear shot but it was a beautiful butterfly and is also a species of special concern here in Minnesota. The colors made me think of golden tiger orange and a midnight blue on its lower wing areas in sunlight. This was about as good a photos I could get without scaring it.

  regal fritillary  
           
 

 

  regal fritillary  
           
 

From open to closed wings...

from late June to first couple days of July 2021

  regal fritillary  
           
 

Recently emerged male regal...

This male regal landed on a prairie plant and almost looked like it was floating in air. A male that just recently emerged I encountered earlier this 2021 season. I filmed it and the breeze moved its wings on and off while it remained perched. I cropped a 4k frame grab to get the photos. I’m sure by now this male has faded some and probably has worn torn wings which happens once they patrol the prairies in a hurry to find a mate during their very short lives. The wind, heat, smoke from forest fires and this seasons drought conditions as well as predators can have an adverse effect on butterflies etc. Particularly on species of special concern like regals which are not as common or abundant as some other species.

  regal fritillary  
       
    regal fritillary  
           
 

Wings open...

Male Regal Fritillary early July 2021. A second male is behind this one barely noticeable. Beautiful wing patterns and color.

  regal fritillary  
           
 

Male Regal showing a little blue....

This male regal fritillary was just resting on the prairie grasses and noticed it was showing a little of that iridescent blue that occurs when the lighting hits the lower wing areas just right. Most noticeable on the right side.

Seemed like that area hit the light source more for it to show. Hopefully we can continue to keep this “Species of Special Concern” in Mn. There seems to be many programs, people or groups working to help out with “Saving the Monarch” and I think that is wonderful and they should keep doing it, but not that many promoting the survival of the Regal Fritillary. Probably because they are so less known to people.

They do not show up in as many types of places like the Monarch so it makes sense they are much less known about. I found them to be quite beautiful in the early part of their short lives and feel they should be monitored closely so they do not end up extinct like in a lot of their former ranges. Feel real fortunate to find one to film etc.

For the Regal’s…

Dan 🙂

  regal fritillary  
           
 

Male Regal Fritillary butterfly wings closed...

This male regal fritillary did open and close its wings while filming it but thought I’d send one with the wings closed. Filmed it on a nice early July 2021 day which was before the smoke haze rolled in.

I did see a female regal fritillary recently I went out one early evening after work but I didn’t see it until it flew up and down wind out of view. Seen one too on feeding a prairie flower but couldn’t get set up in time to film her. The female regal is really nice too. May go out tomorrow morning the smoke haze is suppose to be less. So will see what tomorrow brings.

  regal fritillary  
           
 

Bee/wasp attacking Regal's...

It tried a couple times then dive bombed and struck the male regal on the right hitting that regals body part and the regal took off and so did the other one. The bee or wasp photo where it is by itself just circled looking down at the thistle and flew off.

Regals are really beautiful early in their short lives. These are really small 4k frame grabs.

  regal fritillary  
           
    regal fritillary   regal fritillary  
           
 

Wings wide spread....

The lighting was harsh and the temperatures warm during the morning of July 4, 2021 but the the male regal was beautiful to say the least despite the conditions. One cannot pick the type of day, lighting etc. often in certain situations in nature. This is a 4k frame grab. I always see so many more monarchs when out and about in nature than regals.

  regal fritillary  
           
 

Male Regal Fritillary...

I cropped a 4k frame grab. Only seen this one single one. Beautiful butterfly.

  regal fritillary  
           
 

Female Regal Fritillary down in the grass...

While I was filming her she crawled way down into the grass and out of site. I just left her be after that. Early Summer 2020 at a Prairie Preserve in Minnesota. Only seen a couple female Regals the whole 2020 season. There were times at the same preserve I didn’t see any.

  regal fritillary  
           
 

Female Regal Fritillary Butterfly....

I recently filmed and photographed this female Regal Fritillary on a prairie in Minnesota. I believe she had just recently emerged and her color was beautiful.

  regal fritillary  
       
    regal fritillary  
           
 

“Regal Frtitllary Butterflies”

 
    regal fritillary   regal fritillary  
           
 

Regal Fritillary Bluish Sheen on lower wing -male

It shows the bluish sheen on the one wing that is in sunlight.

  regal fritillary  
           
 

On a Prairie Preserve in Minnesota...

Regal Fritillary mating SNA in Mn. Really interesting wing patterns on Regals. Also that bluish sheen they can have in certain lighting on the lower wing areas is pretty cool as well. I feel fortunate to have come across the Regal and have gained a lot of respect and admiration for these butterflies.

  regal fritillary  
           
 

Female Regal Fritillary & Goldenrod Soldier Beetle....

...on a Thistle flower. Seen a lot of the Goldenrod Soldier Beetles but very few female Regal’s. Male Regal’s had pretty much died off. Noticed Monarch’s were fairly abundant throughout the preserve.

  regal fritillary  
           
 

Interesting colored male ....

Regal Fritillary. This season the first I seen of any Regal Fritillary butterflies was early July. This image is from over a week later and not sure the exact date this male first emerged. Male Regal’s in particular fade in color with time. It doesn’t take that long of time either. I noticed earlier in July the males were more reddish orange with some not as reddish tinted as others. They almost glowed. Then they constantly seemed to patrol the prairie hovering above the prairie grasses etc. searching for any females that may have emerged. This male has started fading but had an interesting color tint before it would eventually fade to a dull varying grayish tan brown mix with shredded wings etc. Such short lives they live and how different they look from when they first emerge to when nearing the end of the Regal’s short life. The female Regal tends to live longer into the season due to laying her eggs. Both male and female Regal Fritillary are beautiful when in their prime of life. Certainly deserve preservation.

  regal fritillary  
           
 

Male and Female Regal Fritillary...

I was real fortunate to capture the male regal after it recently emerged and feeding. Otherwise they seemed to just fly up and down the prairie areas looking for any emerged females. Hard to photograph or film then. Once in a while they land and either feed or rest but when they decide to do that is very unpredictable. Then the males go right back to looking for the female Regal. Also right now the majority of the males have faded with some shredded wings and nearing the end of their life. Stunning butterflies especially when they are just recently emerged and in the early stage of their very short lives. These were at a SNA in Minnesota. Seen more male Regal’s not that they were overly abundant or anything and only seen a couple female and at times none.

  regal fritillary  
       
    regal fritillary  
           
 

Mating Regal Fritillary.....

I was fortunate to come across a pair mating. I didn’t disturb them and they mainly sat stationary moving around slightly and once in a while opening and closing their wings. I filmed and photographed them since I am working on another regal fritillary video segment. I do not try to disturb anything in nature that I attempt to photograph or film. I figure most things in nature have enough struggles and disturbances in their lives. I will admit sometimes when walking through grasslands some insects, butterflies and even some birds can go unseen until you accidentally startled them to fly off or come into view. The mating regals were still in the same spot that day when I quietly and slowly backed away from them and left their area.

  regal fritillary  
           
 

Regals are absolutely beautiful when they just emerge.

 
    regal fritillary      
           
 

Regal Fritillary & Monarch together...

Not the best lighting etc. for photography but one cannot pick the time or type of day when nature shows up. Kind of rare to see a Regal Fritillary and Monarch close enough to get them together in a photo. Aug. 2019 was the first time I ever seen a Regal Fritillary in my life. But both are beautiful butterflies, though I seen quite a few more Monarch’s than Regal Fritillary’s. Taken Aug. 16, 2019 at a Prairie Preserve in Norman county, Mn

  regal fritillary  
           
 

Regal Fritillary...

The female was just taking flight. A “species of special concern” here in Minnesota. I found them to be a really interesting butterfly adding diversity and beauty to prairie areas. A Goldenrod Soldier beetle can also been seen on the flower. Seen many of them this past season. I came across this female Regal Fritillary during the second half of the month of August 2019 on a prairie in rural Norman Co. Mn.

  regal fritillary  
           
 

Regal Fritillary - female

 
    regal fritillary      
           
 

Regal Fritillary female on...

Prairie Blazing Star flower. Filmed her too. Only seen 2 females and 1 male. The male just kept flying and wouldn’t land long enough. I did get a brief close look at the male and it was pretty nice compared to some scruffy ones I seen some weeks back.

  regal fritillary  
 

Laura Baxley

 
    regal fritillary   regal fritillary  
 

Dave Jungst

 
 

Female, Sept. 10, 2013

 
    regal fritillary   regal fritillary  
           
 

Female, Sept. 18, 2014

 
    regal fritillary      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    regal fritillary   regal fritillary  
           
    regal fritillary      

 

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slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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  "Regal Fritillary Butterfly" Male & Female Early Summer 2020
Feb 1, 2021
 
   
 
About

Filmed at a Scientific and Natural Area during the early Summer of 2020. A vulnerable species, declining in some areas and gone extinct in much of its former range. There is informative text at the beginning of the video followed by up close images of both male and female. Relaxing background music added. I was fortunate to come across the regals early in their short lives. They are quite interesting and colorful but can fade and get damaged wings in a matter of a few weeks particularly the males that seem to almost constantly patrol the prairie looking for females. Their lifespan is short and they have no time to waste. ...Hope you enjoy this.

   
       
  "The Regal Fritillary Butterfly" filmed by Dan W Andree 2019
Dec 24, 2019
 
   
 
About

A short video I put together after encountering the Regal Fritillary butterfly for the first time late summer 2019. From mid August to Sept. 1st. The video shows all female regals because that time of the year most males have died off or close to it, I read. I am no expert on this butterfly but did develop a soft spot for them. They seem to be struggling in areas. Perhaps next season I will do a revised version of this video and add the male and female in the earlier stage of their lives. But next season is a ways away so will just upload this short version. Hope you enjoy it.

   
       
 
Other Videos
 
  Regal Fritillary
pengelhard1
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Dec 7, 2011

No description available.

 
  Regal Fritillary Butterfly lives in military impact area
Bob Smith
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Mar 1, 2011

This rare insect lives at Fort Indiantown Gap, in central Pennsylvania, right in the middle of training areas. How does this work? Well, it does. I did this piece for National Guard Bureau Public affairs.

 
  Regal Fritillaries at Maxwell WA
kdwpinfo
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jun 24, 2010

Abundant regal fritillary butterflies show that the prairie habitat is in great shape at Maxwell Game Refuge near Canton. Visit KDWP wildlife areas for the best of the Kansas outdoors.

 

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this insect.

 
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Be sure to include a location.
 
  Nancy Falkum
9/18/2021 5:11 PM

Location: Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Weaver Dunes Unit

rough blazing star  
  Dan W. Andree
7/9/2021

Location: a Prairie Preserve in Mn.

It was a hard angle to try capture this male regal fritillary. It kind of crawled around and paused. A breeze blowing grasses made it difficult to get a clear shot but it was a beautiful butterfly and is also a species of special concern here in Minnesota. The colors made me think of golden tiger orange and a midnight blue on its lower wing areas in sunlight. This was about as good a photos I could get without scaring it.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
Early summer 2021

Location: Norman Co., Mn.

from late June to first couple days of July 2021

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
early 2021

Location: Rural Norman Co., Mn.

This male regal landed on a prairie plant and almost looked like it was floating in air. A male that just recently emerged I encountered earlier this 2021 season. I filmed it and the breeze moved its wings on and off while it remained perched. I cropped a 4k frame grab to get the photos. I’m sure by now this male has faded some and probably has worn torn wings which happens once they patrol the prairies in a hurry to find a mate during their very short lives. The wind, heat, smoke from forest fires and this seasons drought conditions as well as predators can have an adverse effect on butterflies etc. Particularly on species of special concern like regals which are not as common or abundant as some other species.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
early July 2021

Location: Rural Norman Co., Mn.

Male Regal Fritillary early July 2021. A second male is behind this one barely noticeable. Beautiful wing patterns and color.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
July 2021

Location: Rural Norman Co., Mn.

This male regal fritillary was just resting on the prairie grasses and noticed it was showing a little of that iridescent blue that occurs when the lighting hits the lower wing areas just right. Most noticeable on the right side.

Seemed like that area hit the light source more for it to show. Hopefully we can continue to keep this “Species of Special Concern” in Mn. There seems to be many programs, people or groups working to help out with “Saving the Monarch” and I think that is wonderful and they should keep doing it, but not that many promoting the survival of the Regal Fritillary. Probably because they are so less known to people.

They do not show up in as many types of places like the Monarch so it makes sense they are much less known about. I found them to be quite beautiful in the early part of their short lives and feel they should be monitored closely so they do not end up extinct like in a lot of their former ranges. Feel real fortunate to find one to film etc.

For the Regal’s…

Dan 🙂

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
early July 2021

Location: Rural Norman Co., Mn.

This male regal fritillary did open and close its wings while filming it but thought I’d send one with the wings closed. Filmed it on a nice early July 2021 day which was before the smoke haze rolled in.

I did see a female regal fritillary recently I went out one early evening after work but I didn’t see it until it flew up and down wind out of view. Seen one too on feeding a prairie flower but couldn’t get set up in time to film her. The female regal is really nice too. May go out tomorrow morning the smoke haze is suppose to be less. So will see what tomorrow brings.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
7/11/2021

Location: Norman Co., Mn.

It tried a couple times then dive bombed and struck the male regal on the right hitting that regals body part and the regal took off and so did the other one. The bee or wasp photo where it is by itself just circled looking down at the thistle and flew off. Regals are really beautiful early in their short lives. These are really small 4k frame grabs.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
7/4/2021

Location: Norman Co., Mn.

I cropped a 4k frame grab. Only seen this one single one. Beautiful butterfly.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
6/26/2021

Location: Norman Co., Mn.

Yesterday 6-26-21 ...I did see one...Male Regal Fritillary got close enough to identify it while it paused briefly but it took off and I tried to keep track of it but lost track. It was the only one I seen out there. Seen a Great Spangled Fritillary too. Anyway the regals are emerging or at least starting to.

Last season I didn’t see any males until July 7, 2020 but I hadn’t been out there many times before that so they could have been around before that. I’ll try get out there again maybe today or sometime during a late afternoon this coming week to see if I see
any. I’d like to catch one with its wings open and that iridescent bluish sheen showing on both wings. I almost filmed one like that last season but just as I got the camera focused on it closed it wings then only opened them as it took off. They are a challenge but they are such a neat butterfly particularly if you can catch them just after emerging when fresh new wings etc. Pretty fortunate to have that species here.

 
  Dan W. Andree
Early summer 2020

Location: Norman Co., Mn.

While I was filming her she crawled way down into the grass and out of site. I just left her be after that. Early Summer 2020 at a Prairie Preserve in Minnesota. Only seen a couple female Regals the whole 2020 season. There were times at the same preserve I didn’t see any.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
Early summer 2020

Location: Norman Co., Mn.

I recently filmed and photographed this female Regal Fritillary on a prairie in Minnesota. I believe she had just recently emerged and her color was beautiful.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
Summer 2020

Location: Scientific and Natural Area in Norman Co. Mn.

...on a Thistle flower. Seen a lot of the Goldenrod Soldier Beetles but very few female Regal’s. Male Regal’s had pretty much died off. Noticed Monarch’s were fairly abundant throughout the preserve.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
7/19/2020

Location: a Scientific and Natural Area in Norman county, Mn.

Regal Fritillary. This season the first I seen of any Regal Fritillary butterflies was early July. This image is from over a week later and not sure the exact date this male first emerged. Male Regal’s in particular fade in color with time. It doesn’t take that long of time either. I noticed earlier in July the males were more reddish orange with some not as reddish tinted as others. They almost glowed. Then they constantly seemed to patrol the prairie hovering above the prairie grasses etc. searching for any females that may have emerged. This male has started fading but had an interesting color tint before it would eventually fade to a dull varying grayish tan brown mix with shredded wings etc. Such short lives they live and how different they look from when they first emerge to when nearing the end of the Regal’s short life. The female Regal tends to live longer into the season due to laying her eggs. Both male and female Regal Fritillary are beautiful when in their prime of life. Certainly deserve preservation.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
7/11/2020

Location: SNA in Mn

It shows the bluish sheen on the one wing that is in sunlight.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
7/10/2020

Location: SNA in Mn

Regal Fritillary mating SNA in Mn. Really interesting wing patterns on Regals. Also that bluish sheen they can have in certain lighting on the lower wing areas is pretty cool as well. I feel fortunate to have come across the Regal and have gained a lot of respect and admiration for these butterflies.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
Early July 2020

Location: SNA in Minnesota

I was real fortunate to capture the male regal after it recently emerged and feeding. Otherwise they seemed to just fly up and down the prairie areas looking for any emerged females. Hard to photograph or film then. Once in a while they land and either feed or rest but when they decide to do that is very unpredictable. Then the males go right back to looking for the female Regal. Also right now the majority of the males have faded with some shredded wings and nearing the end of their life. Stunning butterflies especially when they are just recently emerged and in the early stage of their very short lives. These were at a SNA in Minnesota. Seen more male Regal’s not that they were overly abundant or anything and only seen a couple female and at times none.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
July 2020

Location: SNA in Mn.

I was fortunate to come across a pair mating. I didn’t disturb them and they mainly sat stationary moving around slightly and once in a while opening and closing their wings. I filmed and photographed them since I am working on another regal fritillary video segment. I do not try to disturb anything in nature that I attempt to photograph or film. I figure most things in nature have enough struggles and disturbances in their lives. I will admit sometimes when walking through grasslands some insects, butterflies and even some birds can go unseen until you accidentally startled them to fly off or come into view. The mating regals were still in the same spot that day when I quietly and slowly backed away from them and left their area.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
July 2020

Location: SNA in Norman Co. Mn.

Regals are absolutely beautiful when they just emerge.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
8/16/2019

Location: Norman Co. Mn.

Not the best lighting etc. for photography but one cannot pick the time or type of day when nature shows up. Kind of rare to see a Regal Fritillary and Monarch close enough to get them together in a photo. Aug. 2019 was the first time I ever seen a Regal Fritillary in my life. But both are beautiful butterflies, though I seen quite a few more Monarch’s than Regal Fritillary’s. Taken Aug. 16, 2019 at a Prairie Preserve in Norman county, Mn

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
August 2019

Location: Rural Norman Co. Mn.

The female was just taking flight. A “species of special concern” here in Minnesota. I found them to be a really interesting butterfly adding diversity and beauty to prairie areas. A Goldenrod Soldier beetle can also been seen on the flower. Seen many of them this past season. I came across this female Regal Fritillary during the second half of the month of August 2019 on a prairie in rural Norman Co. Mn.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
August 2019

Location: Rural Norman Co. Mn.

regal fritillary

 
  Dan W. Andree
8/30/2019

Location: Frenchman’s Bluff SNA

Regal Fritillary female on...

Prairie Blazing Star flower. Filmed her too. Only seen 2 females and 1 male. The male just kept flying and wouldn’t land long enough. I did get a brief close look at the male and it was pretty nice compared to some scruffy ones I seen some weeks back.

regal fritillary

 
  Laura Baxley
7/11/2018

Location: Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie

regal fritillary

 
  Dave Jungst
9/18/2014

Location: Pope County, Ben Wade Township, on a WPA

Female, Sept. 18, 2014

regal fritillary

 
  Dave Jungst
9/10/2013

Location: Pope County, Chippewa Falls Township, near Terrace

Female, Sept. 10, 2013

regal fritillary

 
           
 
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