Boloria bellona
Meadow Fritillary

Family Description:
This species is referred to with the genus name Clossiana by some authors.
The caterpillar is purple to black and may be mottled with yellow. The body has many brown bumps (tubercles) with brown, branching spines arising from each.
Adult: The butterfly is medium-sized, with a wingspan of 1 to 2 inches. It is orange to red on the upperside with black zigzags on the interior of the wings and two rows of black spots along the outside edges. The outermost tips of the forewings are squared off. Underneath, the forewing is marked similarly to the upperside but the tips may be purplish, while the hindwing is orange clouded with purplish brown and marked with brown and tan.

This species ranges from eastern British Columbia to Newfoundland, south to the northern parts of Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, and throughout the northeastern quarter of the U.S. as far south as Tennessee.


It is primarily found in wet to moist habitats, including bogs, marshes, wet fields and meadows.


Caterpillar: Caterpillars eat the leaves of various species of violets (Viola spp.).
Adult: Butterflies obtain nectar usually from flowers in the sunflower family (Asteraceae), such as dandelions (Taraxacum spp.) and ox-eyed daises (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum).


Caterpillars overwinter in a physiological state called diapause. The number of generations each year depends on the location: one in the west, two in the north and three in the south. In the case of multiple generations in a given summer, only the last generation of caterpillars overwinters. Adults generally fly from early May to early September.


Males actively patrol for receptive females. During courtship the male will hover above the female. Females lay eggs on randomly selected plants and plant parts, and very seldom on violets.

Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.
Global Rank: G5; populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.

Ferris, C. D. and F. M. Brown. (eds.) 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, USA, 442 pp.

Opler, P. A., H. Pavulaan, and R. E. Stanford. 1995. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, North Dakota, USA: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. (Version 05Nov98).

Opler, P. A. and A. B.Wright. 1999. A Field Guide to the Western Butterflies.  Second Edition.  Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York, USA, 540 pp.

Pyle, R. M. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, New York, USA, 924 pp.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA, 583 pp.

Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western U.S.A. Butterflies (Including Adjacent Parts of Canada and Mexico). Published by authors, Denver, Colorado, USA, 275 pp.