The Great Spangled Fritillary has a different hue in different parts of the continent, raising the level of difficulty in identifying it.
Apart from Mexico and some southern states in the U.S., the Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly is commonly found everywhere and anywhere. Like other Fritillary butterflies, they are usually orange overall with white spots on the underside of the wing. Some individuals may appear more brown than orange. Though their overall color may be somewhere between orange and brown, the pattern of white white spots under the wings and black stripes on top are consistent for the species. When wings are raised, a row of white, triangular spots following closely along the edge is visible. A broad yellowish band of color separates these mini triangles from a brown area closer to the body. On the top side of the wings, the body and the basal area on the wings are brown. Bright yellow-orange flares from this area and covers the rest of the stretched-out forewings. Rows of black dashes, dots, and chevrons border the wings' edges.
Look for them in gardens, parks, roadsides, meadows. They like being near a water source. Adults drink nectar from a variety of flower species. Look for them near violets, the preferred food source for larvae. Great Spangled Fritillary caterpillars overwinter and feed on the host plant in the spring.
Scientific Name: Speyeria cybele
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 62mm to 88mm (2.42in to 3.43in)
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
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.