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Aphrodite Fritillary Butterfly (Speyeria aphrodite)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Aphrodite Fritillary Butterfly.

 Updated: 5/16/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




A garden filled with violets, milkweed and thistles will tempt an Aphrodite Fritillary in any stage of life while keeping future generations interested for years to come.



Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, pleasure and beauty. The Aphrodite Fritillary is a lovely summertime butterfly that produces one brood each year. It has many close relatives that look very similar to it making identification somewhat of a challenge. To complicate things, males and females are different sizes, and hues vary in different regions of the continent. The yellow-green eyes of the Aphrodite Fritillary offer a fast way to eliminate almost all relatives. The Great Spangled Fritillary and Atlantis Fritillary share Aphrodite's range and also have yellow-green eyes, but they are much larger and smaller (respectively) than the medium-sized Aphrodite.

Males Aphrodite Fritillary Butterflies are smaller than females, and may have a two week head start in life. They actively search for females during warm parts of the day. After mating, females can be seen walking on the ground near violets where they lay fertilized eggs at a rate of about one per plant. The caterpillar that hatches from these eggs eats the leaves off many types of violets in late summer. Its body is black and segments are studded with long rows of bristles from head to rear. These bristles may be black or yellow. It retreats in a shelter of leaves for the winter and emerges again in the spring when violets begin growing. They will pupate for two to three weeks in early summer.

Adults are mostly orange with black markings on the tops of the wings. Light brown hairs cover the body and extend over the base of the wings. The underside of the wings is light brown with a lighter border at the bottom edge. It is covered with various sizes of white spots. They can be seen drinking nectar from a variety of wildflowers. Milkweed, dogbane, thistle, and Joe Pye weed are popular flowering plants that feed adults. Meadows, fields, woods, marshes, bogs, prairies and barren land are all home to the Aphrodite Fritillary. Various elevations also suit this species, so high ranges and mountains are also comfortable habitats for this butterfly.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Nymphalidae
          Genus: Speyeria
            Species: aphrodite
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Speyeria aphrodite
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 55mm to 80mm (2.15in to 3.12in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: orange, black, white, silver
Descriptors: flying, helpful, spotted
Territorial Map
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Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.




Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
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Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
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Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
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Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
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Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
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Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.