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Regal Fritillary (Speyeria idalia)

Regal FritillaryThe Regal Fritillary is a species of large butterflies found in a limited range in the United States. They are known for their very bright color pattern, contrasted with reddish-orange and black, and are seen flying during the summer months. With an alarming decrease in population, the regal fritillaries have been declared as ‘Vulnerable’ or ‘At Risk’ (category G3) by Nature Serve.

Scientific Classification

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

Description and Identification


Regal Fritillary Caterpillar

The mature larva of the regal fritillary is either velvety black with yellowish-orange blotches or else, yellow to yellowish orange with black blotches. There are six rows of black bristled spines running down their bodies. The head is black with some orange coloration on the top.


The regal fritillary chrysalis is light mottled brown in appearance with a tinge of pink. There are also some small black spots on the wings and the thorax regions, a few transverse yellow bands on the abdomen, along with short, dorsal cones.

Adult Butterfly

Sexual Dimorphism: Faintly present

Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the dorsal side of the forewings display a bright reddish orange coloration with black markings, whereas the hindwings show a black base color with rows of postmedian white spots. In the male regal fritillaries, the submarginal row of spots is in orange, and in the female, it is white. When the wings are closed, the ventral side of the forewings shows a bright orange color that gradually turns dark towards the edges, while the hind wings are black with white leaf-like spots.

Regal Fritillary Butterfly
Speyeria Idalia

Average wingspan: 68–105 mm (2.7–4.1 in)

Flight pattern: Slow, yet erratic


Cream in color with a conical shape having irregular ridges running from the crown to the base

Quick Facts

Distribution Only in the east-central regions of the United States
Habitat Tall-grass prairies, wet fields, damp meadows, marshes, and mountain pastures
Lifespan of adults 14 to 60 days, depending on climate
Host plants Plants belonging to the violet species including bird’s foot violet
Adult diet Flower nectar especially from milkweeds, thistles, red clover, and mountain mint

Did You Know?

  • While chasing a female, a male regal fritillary is always seen following the former in a circular flying pattern.

Regal Fritillary Butterfly Habitat

Regal Fritillary Rangepng2.kisspng.com

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