Euptoieta claudia

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Variegated Fritillary
Variegated Fritillary, Megan McCarty83.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Heliconiinae
Genus: Euptoieta
Species: E. claudia
Binomial name
Euptoieta claudia
(Cramer, 1775)

The Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia) is a butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. It is native to North America and South America. The Variegated Fritillary is closely related to butterflies in the genus Speyeria. It has some differences from Speyeria butterflies. Some of the differences are: Variegated Fritillaries have 2-3 broods per year vs. one per year in Speyeria. They travel more vs. staying in the same place. And they use a wide range of host plants vs. just violets. Variegated Fritillaries use passionflowers as a host plant. Because of this, Variegated Fritillaries have taxonomic links to the heliconians. Their flight is low and fast, and they are hard to approach. Its genus name was taken from the Greek word euptoietos meaning "easily scared".[1]

Description[change | change source]

The upper side of the wings is orange and black. The fore wing and hind wing have a row of submarginal black spots and black median lines running across the wings. (Submarginal means just inward of the wing edge. Median means through the center of the wing.)[2][3] The underside of the fore wing is orange. The hind wing is mottled with browns and grays. There is a pale postmedian band (postmedian means just outward of the median). There is no silvering.[3] The wingspan is 1.75-2.25 inches.[4]

Similar species[change | change source]

There is a butterfly similar to the Variegated Fritillary. It is the Mexican Fritillary (Euptoieta hegesia). The Mexican Fritillary is brighter orange. The upper side of its hind wing has more orange. The underside of its wings is plainer, with no submarginal spots or median black lines.[2][3]

Flight period[change | change source]

This species may be seen flying from April-October in the south. It flies in the north from summer to early fall.[5]

Habitat[change | change source]

This butterfly is found in different kinds of habitats. It can by found in clover fields, alfalfa fields, fields, pastures, waste areas, roadsides, and mountain meadows.[1][6]

Nectar plants[change | change source]

Variegated Fritillaries feeding on coneflowers (Echinacea sp.)

The Variegated Fritillary has been seen on different kinds of flowers. Here is a list of them:

Life cycle[change | change source]


Females lay their eggs singly on the host plant's leaves and stems. The eggs are pale green or cream colored. The caterpillar eats the leaves, flowers, and stems of the food plant.[1][8] The caterpillar is red with black stripes. There are white spots in the black stripes. In many individuals, the white is more noticeable than the black.[9] It has six rows of black spines. It has a pair of long, clubbed spines on the head.[5][8] The chrysalis is shiny white with small black spots. It has a variable amount of brown markings and has orange and gold projections. Adults overwinter in the south and fly north each spring and summer.[8] It has 2-3 broods per year.[3]

Host plants[change | change source]

Here is a list of host plants that the Variegated Fritillary caterpillar eats:

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Rich Cech and Guy Tudor (2005). The Butterflies of the East Coast. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. ISBN 0-691-09055-6
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bob Stewart, Priscilla Brodkin, and Hank Brodkin (2001). Butterflies of Arizona. West Coast Lady Press.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Jim P. Brock and Kenn Kaufman (2003). Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin, New York, NY. ISBN 0-618-15312-8
  4. Ernest M. Shull (1987). The Butterflies of Indiana. Indiana Academy of Science. ISBN 0-253-31292-2
  5. 5.0 5.1 Thomas J. Allen, Jim P. Brock, and Jeffrey Glassberg (2005). Caterpillars in the Field and Garden. Oaxford University Press Inc., New York, NY. ISBN 0-19-514987-4
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 David C. Iftner, John A. Shuey, and John V. Calhoun (1992). Butterflies and Skippers of Ohio. College of Biological Sciences and The Ohio State University. ISBN 0-86727-107-8
  7. Judy Burris and Wayne Richards (2006). The Life Cycle of Butterflies. Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA. ISBN 1-58017-618-6
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 James A. Scott (1986). The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. ISBN 0-8047-2013-4
  9. David L. Wagner (2005). Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. ISBN 0-691-12143-5