Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)
The Variegated Fritillary is a species of large, primarily orange butterflies that are found in both the Americas. In the south, they are mostly seen flying between April and October, whereas in the north, they are seen active between summer and early fall.
Description and Identification
The larva has a brownish copper color with white lines across the body. The lines are mottled with fine black spots, while the entire body is studded with small, black, spine-like growths.
The chrysalis is shiny white with bright orange to copper spots along with tiny black spots along with each. They typically hang from the upper side of the leaves of their host plant.
Sexual Dimorphism: Not present
Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the dorsal side shows a checkered pattern in black and orange, with both the pairs of primary and secondary wings having a row of submarginal dark spots, each, along with dark median lines running across the wings. When the wings are closed, the ventral side of the forewings display an orange base coloration with a pale orange spot bordered in black in the cell of the forewing. The hindwings have a faint postmedian band, and are mottled with browns and grays.
Average wingspan: 1.75–2.25 inches (44–57 mm)
Flight pattern: Slow and erratic
Pale-green or cream-colored eggs are laid singly on host plant’s stems and leaves
|Distribution||From Argentina through Central America and Mexico, higher up to the southern parts of the United States, as well as Cuba and Jamaica|
|Habitat||Open sunny landscapes like prairies, fields, road edges, landfills, pastures, etc.|
|Lifespan of adults||Around a month|
|Host plants||In Central America: Passionflower species Passiflora oerstediiand Passiflora menispermifoliaElsewhere: Various passion flower species|
|Adult diet||Flower nectar from species including butterflyweed, commonmilkweed, dogbane, peppermint, red clover, swamp milkweed,and tickseed sunflower|
Did You Know?
- The generic name of this large butterfly was derived from the Greek word euptoietos meaning ‘easily scared’, which probably hints at their nature.