Home / Brush-Footed (Nymphalidae) / Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

Great Spangled Fritillary
dpr.ncparks.gov

The Great Spangled Fritillary is an American butterfly species spread in nine local subspecies. They are known for their characteristic orange, tan or tawny coloration and are seen active between mid-June and mid-September.

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

Great Spangled Fritillary Caterpillar
prairiehaven.com

The caterpillar has a jet black body with spine-like structures all over that are also black with an orange spot at the bases. The newly-hatched larvae do not feed but overwinter until the arrival of spring, when they consume the young leaves of the violet.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Nymphalidae
  • Genus: Speyeria
  • Scientific Name: Speyeria cybele

Pupa

Great Spangled Fritillary Chrysalis
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The chrysalis has the shape of a shelled peanut with a chestnut black or brown coloration along with faint orange markings on the glossy body.

Adult Butterfly

Sexual Dimorphism: Present

Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the dorsal side of the male displays a characteristic tan to orange base color marked with black scales on the veins of the forewings, whereas the females exhibit a rather tawny and darker shade than the males. When the wings are closed, the ventral side of the hindwings shows a wide but pale submarginal band along with pronounced silver spots.

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly
cdn.butterflyatlas.org
Speyeria cybele
prairiehaven.com

Average wingspan: 62 to 88 mm (2.4 to 3.5 in)

Flight pattern: Medium speed almost in a straight line

Eggs

Great Spangled Fritillary Eggs
folksbutterflyfarm.com

Faint grayish-white in color; laid one at a time on host leaves

Quick Facts

Distribution Cover a wide range of North America starting from the south of Canada to the northern parts of California on the west to the east to North Carolina
Habitat Mostly prefer woodland edges and moist meadows
Lifespan of adults Maximum 30 to 45 days
Host plants Various species of violet (viola) flower
Adult diet Flower nectar especially from milkweeds, thistles, purple coneflower, vetch, bergamot, ironweed, dogbane, mountain laurel, verbena, joe-pye weed, and red clover

Did You Know?

  • Back in 1985, Cocteau Twins, a Scottish music band, released a song called Great Spangled Fritillary as the first of the three tracks,each of which bore a name influenced by the scientific ‘order’ of butterflies ‘Lepidoptera’.
Male Great Spangled Fritillary
butterfliesandmoths.org
Female Great Spangled Fritillary
snowbirdpix.com
Great Spangled Fritillary Images
cdn.butterflyatlas.org

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