Boloria chariclea
Arctic Fritillary

Family Description:
This species is referred to with the genus name Clossiana by some authors. Some authors consider this species to be a subspecies of Boloria titania, the Purple Fritillary.
Caterpillar: The caterpillar is gray, with a black head and black stripes along the back and sides, and has orange spines.
Adult: This is a medium-sized butterfly, with a wingspan of 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches. Its appearance is variable, but generally the upperside is orange, marked with black zigzags on the inner halves of the wings, with a row of black spots followed by a row of black triangles along the wings’ edges. Underneath, the forewing is similarly marked. The underside of the hindwing is brownish and marked with a whitish, yellowish, or rust colored wavy band, lined with black towards the outside, running across the center. Along the outer edge is a dashed white line, bordered towards the inside by a line of brown ">’s" which point inwards, followed by a curved row of brownish spots.

Its range includes Alaska, all of Canada, the Cascades and the Rocky Mountains, parts of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, northern Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Maine. In Idaho, it has been documented to occur in the eastern part of the state in Fremont and Bear Lake Counties.

It tends to be in wetter and more harsh climates, including tundra, alpine meadows, bogs, and coniferous forests.


Caterpillar: Caterpillars eat the leaves of violets (Viola spp.), willows (Salix spp.), and possibly blueberries (Vaccinium spp.).
Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar.

This species is biennial in much of its range. Very young caterpillars overwinter, in a physiological state called diapause, the first winter. In spring, they emerge, feed, and undergo several molts through summer and fall. The following winter, the mature caterpillars enter diapause again, and emerge in the spring to finish their development into butterflies. In the other parts of its range, very young caterpillars overwinter and finish their development the following summer. This species of Fritillary flies late into the fall and is often one of the last observed of the season.

Males actively patrol for receptive females. Females lay eggs on a variety of plant species, typically positioning them on the undersides of leaves.

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.