variegated fritillary

(Euptoieta claudia)

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

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNRB - Unranked Breeding


not listed


Variegated fritillary is a medium-sized, migratory, fritillary butterfly. The wingspan is 1¾ to 2½. Females can be much larger than males.

The upper side of both wings are orange with dark brown bands and spots. On the outer margin there is a band (marginal band) of orange spots that have dark borders and are separated by heavy, dark veins. All of the spots are pale and distinct, even at the wing tip. There is an orange submarginal band with dark, round spots, and a pale orange median band with no spots. The veins in the submarginal band, median band, and base are dark and thin.

The base of the forewing is reddish-orange. The outer edge has a thick, black border. There is a pale orange spot near the center with a thick, black border. There are two black chevrons closer to the body. The base of the hindwing is reddish-orange with some thin black markings.

The underside of the hindwing is brown with thin, white veins; a wide, pale, postmedian band; a pale marginal band; and no conspicuous pale spots. The underside of the forewing is pale orange with a reddish orange base, black markings, and a pale orange spot rimmed in black in the forewing cell.

The caterpillar is orangish-red, shiny, and up to 2 long. Each abdominal segment has a white, footprint-shaped spot at the middle of the upper (dorsal) surface. On each side of each segment there is a dorsal row, subdorsal row, and spiracular row of black with white spots. Each of these rows has a single, branched, spike-like projection (scolus). There are two longer scoli on the prothorax that project well forward of the head. The scoli are black with an iridescent, purplish-blue reflection.




1¾ to 2½ wingspan


Similar Species


Open fields, meadows, roadsides




Two or three broods; mid-June to mid-September






Life Cycle


Adults migrate from the south, first appearing in Minnesota around mid-June. The female lays pale green or cream colored eggs singly on the leaves and stems of host plants. The larvae eat the leaves, stems, and flowers of host plants. There are usually two broods per year, sometimes three.

Adults migrate south in the fall. They overwinter as caterpillars and possibly also as adults in frost-free areas.


Larva Hosts


Violet (Viola spp.), flax (Linum spp.), plantain (Plantago spp.), Canada moonseed, and May-apple.


Adult Food


Nectar of dogbane (Apocynum spp.), milkweed (Asclepias spp.), aster (Symphyotrichum spp.), beggarticks (Bidens spp.), thistle (Cirsium spp.), narrow-leaved purple coneflower, fleabane (Erigeron spp.), boneset (Eupatorium spp.), alfalfa, red clover, ironweed (Vernonia spp.), Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium spp.), purple loosestrife, and bog Labrador tea.


Distribution Map



24, 27, 29, 30, 82.







Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  


Papilionoidea (butterflies)  


Nymphalidae (brush-footed butterflies)  


Heliconiinae (fritillaries and longwings)  


Argynnini (fritillaries)  
  Subtribe Euptoietina  







Common Names


variegated fritillary











The first (forward) segment of the thorax on an insect, bearing the first pair of legs but not wings.



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



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























Visitor Photos

Share your photo of this insect.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.

Dan W. Andree


Variegated Fritillary...

A small butterfly though it looks large in the photo. Maybe 2.5 - 3 inch wing span at most.

  variegated fritillary  

Seen and photographed a male in pursuit of a female Variegated. Not the best photo only got a couple shots at them. It was quite windy out that day. They can real flit around and sometimes spook easily.

Interesting butterfly and some were slightly larger than others in size. Also the color patterns were neat and varied in color tones. Some looked almost painted with rich colors and detailing and some were paler and had scruffy wing areas. But then they have to deal with prairie winds etc. and they can get whipped around etc.

  variegated fritillary  

Dave Jungst


At Glacial Lakes State Park

    variegated fritillary      
    variegated fritillary   variegated fritillary  



Euptoieta claudia (Variegated Fritillary)
Allen Chartier
  Euptoieta claudia (Variegated Fritillary)  



Visitor Videos

Share your video of this mammal.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.

Cheryl TeHennepe

  variegated fritillary 01
Jul 26, 2022

variegated fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)
caterpillar 1 day before moving off pansies to pupate
Photo by Cheryl TeHennepe

Other Videos
Walter Sanford

Uploaded on Nov 12, 2011

A short video clip of a Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)

  Variegated fritillary caterpillar
Bug of the Week

Published on Jun 8, 2012

This "hungry, hungry caterpillar," the larval stage of the Variegated Fritillary butterfly, makes quick work of a delicious flower blossom.

  Courting Variegated Fritillaries
Dragonfly Woman

Published on Aug 23, 2013

A male variegated fritillary tries to get it on with a female!

  Variegated Fritillary Butterfly Eclosing 1080p macro

Uploaded on Jun 20, 2011

  Variegated fritillary caterpillar eating a passion vine leaf

Uploaded on Jul 2, 2009

Variegated fritillary caterpillar eating a passion vine leaf




Visitor Sightings

Report a sighting of this insect.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Be sure to include a location.
  Dan W. Andree

Location: Frenchman’s Bluff SNA out in rural Norman County, Mn.

A small butterfly though it looks large in the photo. Maybe 2.5 - 3 inch wing span at most.

variegated fritillary  
  Dave Jungst

Location: Pope County

At Glacial Lakes State Park

variegated fritillary  




Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © All rights reserved.