The top of the forewings and hindwings are orange, black and white. There is a tiny white dot on teh middle part of the orange forewing. The hindwings have two blue eyespots on each wing. These are visible when the wings are open. If the butterfly's wings are closed, the underside is a grayish brown with a flash of bright pink on the forwings. The hindwings have two blue eyespots on that side as well.
This butterfly prefers sunny, open habitats like fields, canyons and meadows. In the summer months, they can be found in the southern parts of Canada and northern U.S.. Come winter though, they migrate to the warmer weather in Mexico and the southern U.S..
Caterpillars eat cudweeds, everlastings and plants in the aster family. It is tublular and black with yellow thin bands or stripes forming rings around its body. Reddish-brown or white spots are interspersed between set of the yellow bands. Bristles protrude from those spotted areas of the body. Two to three generations of this species of butterfly can be born every year.