silver-bordered fritillary

(Boloria selene)

Conservation Status
silver-bordered fritillary
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

S4? - Apparently Secure


not listed


Silver-bordered fritillary is a medium-sized lesser fritillary butterfly. Adults are 1 to 2 in length and have a wingspan of 19 16. Females are larger than males.

The upper sides of both wings are bright orange with heavy, sharply demarcated black dots, chain markings, jagged lines, and chevrons. The outer margins have a heavy black band enclosing a row of orange marginal spots. Each of the marginal spots is capped by a black, inward-pointing chevron.

The forewing is rounded at the tip. The black marginal band often almost completely eliminates the orange marginal spots. Rarely, the orange marginal spots of the forewing and hindwing are completely eliminated by black. There is diffuse black scaling at the base of both wings. On the hindwing it usually obscures the basal spot in the discal area. The forewing veins are black.

The underside of the forewing is dull orange in the basal and medial areas, lighter yellowish-orange in the postmedial area. Black markings mirror the markings on the upper side. There is a large cinnamon-brown patch at the wing tip, and a cinnamon-brown marginal band partially enclosing a row of silvery-white marginal spots. Each of the marginal spots is capped by a black or cinnamon-brown, inward-pointing chevron. The underside of the hindwing is cinnamon-brown in the basal portion, tan in the median area, and cinnamon-brown in the postmedial and marginal areas. There is a marginal row of large white spots; a submarginal row of small black spots; and postmedial row of large. polygonal, white spots; and medial and basal rows of large, polygonal, some silvery white, some cream-colored spots. All of the marginal spots and postmedial spots are solid, prominent, and well silvered. The lower middle post-medial (Cu2) white spot is seldom divided. There is also a single small black spot in the discal area with an orange center and a silvery-white outline.

The female is slightly paler and has less heavy markings. The orange marginal spots are more conspicuous.

The above description refers to the northern subspecies B. s. atrocostalis. On the eastern subspecies, B. s. myrina, the black markings are not as dark. The marginal band is not heavy, and all of the orange marginal spots are visible on both wings.

The caterpillar is about long. The body is variable in color, greenish, pinkish-brown, or brownish-black. Each abdominal segment has 5 pale, orangish-brown, 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 spines just behind the head are very long and horn-like. There is a black spot at the base of each scolus.

Mature caterpillars are found from Late May to September.




Total length: 1 to 2

Wingspan: 19 16


Similar Species


Marshes, bogs, swamps, wet meadows, and fields adjacent to wetlands




Two broods: Mid-May to June and July to early September






Life Cycle


The female lays pale green eggs singly on stems or leaves of a plant near or on a host violet. The eggs quickly turn light brown and hatch after about nine days. Third stage (instar) caterpillars hibernate in late August and overwinter. They continue their development the following spring, and pupate in May. Adults emerge in about ten days.


Larva Hosts


Leaves of violets (Viola spp.)


Adult Food


Nectar of flowers in the aster (Asteraceae) family


Distribution Map



7, 21, 29, 30, 71.


Dark-bordered fritillary (Boloria selene atrocostalis) is common and is found in the northern half of the state.

Myrina fritillary (Boloria selene myrina) is uncommon in Minnesota and is restricted to the southern half of the state.

The two subspecies intergrade along a narrow band where their ranges overlap.




Common in Europe, southern Canada, and in northern United States from the east coast to the Midwest, rare in the west. In Minnesota, fairly common in the northeast, uncommon in the south.



Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  


Papilionoidea (butterflies)  


Nymphalidae (brush-footed butterflies)  


Heliconiinae (longwings, fritillaries and silverspots)  


Argynnini (fritillaries)  
  Subtribe Argynnina  


Boloria (lesser fritillaries)  
  Subgenus Clossiana  

This species is found in both Europe and North America. Some authorities consider the North American butterflies to be a separate species, and have proposed the name Boloria myrina. This proposal has not been widely accepted.


Subordinate Taxa


dark-bordered fritillary (Boloria selene atrocostalis)

Kohler’s fritillary (Boloria selene sabulocollis)

Myrina fritillary (Boloria selene myrina)

Nebraska fritillary (Boloria selene nebraskensis)

silver-bordered fritillary (Boloria selene albequina)

silver-bordered fritillary (Boloria selene selene)

silver-bordered fritillary (Boloria selene terranovae)

Tolland fritillary (Boloria selene tollandensis)




Clossiana selene


Common Names


silver-bordered fritillary

small pearl-bordered fritillary (United Kingdom)









The developmental stage of arthropods between each molt; in insects, the developmental stage of the larvae or nymph.



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



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






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Upper Side

    silver-bordered fritillary   silver-bordered fritillary  
    silver-bordered fritillary      


    silver-bordered fritillary   silver-bordered fritillary  
    silver-bordered fritillary      






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Other Videos
  Silver-bordered Fritillary
Darrell Neufeld

Published on Aug 21, 2012

Seen on August 19,2012

  Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Paul Wetton

Published on Dec 30, 2008

Forest Lodge July 2006
- Paul Wetton

  Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Published on Jun 20, 2014




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Created: 8/20/2019

Last Updated:

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